KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has set next Monday to hear an application by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyers’ on whether they can interview a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer (IO) before the latter takes the stand to testify in the former prime minister’s defence.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set the date to allow the defence and prosecution to prepare further submissions for the defence’s application.
This is in relation to Najib’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
Earlier, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the court that the defence was unable to interview MACC’s Assistant Commissioner Mohd Nashrudin Amir, who was a witness in Najib’s other trial involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
He said this was because the IO had at the very last minute cancelled their meeting for an interview on Saturday (Feb 15).
“The witness (initially) agreed to be interviewed on Saturday.
“That morning, as I was getting ready, apparently, this witness strangely said he does not want to be interviewed,” he said.
Shafee said it is a precondition for the defence to interview the witness as they need to know what relevant things the witness could say in the trial.
“It is vital for my client’s defence. We have the right to interview the witness to get from him the relevant evidence so that no nonsensical evidence come into the court in ensuring a fair trial.
“Any witnesses called without interviewing would be negligence. He can turn out to be a kamikaze witness that destroys our case in a fair or unfair manner,” he added.
Meanwhile, lead prosecutor Datuk V.Sithambaram said the prosecution was of the view that the court had no jurisdiction to compel the witness to be interviewed by the lawyers first prior to taking the stand.
“This is not an offered witness, so the witness has the obligation to tell the court and the court has no power to compel the witness.
Trial continues next on Monday.
Najib, 67, is facing seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC International funds.
He faces 20 years’ jail, if found guilty of the offences.