KUALA LUMPUR : The prosecution in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s case told the High Court today that the former prime minister was the one on trial in the RM2.3 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption case and not former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram described as frivolous Najib’s application for the prosecution to produce to his defence team several banking statements and other documents believed to be related to Zeti’s family in his 1MDB case.
Sri Ram submitted that what Zeti’s family had allegedly received in funds linked to 1MDB had no relevance at all to whether the accused (Najib) had abused his position when he was holding the Prime Minister and Finance Minister posts, and as the sole shareholder of 1MDB under the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc).
“We have produced cogent evidence (during the trial) that money went into the accused’s account. Defence has to show how the evidence (that they require) is relevant to the charge.
“The application (for documents related to Zeti) is frivolous. When the application is bad, it seeks to make a collateral attack upon the issues at the trial. That is not permissible under our law and it is an attempt by the accused to obtain a prejudgment upon the credibility of Tan Sri Zeti in advance of her giving evidence,” said Sri Ram, in objecting to Najib’s application.
Sri Ram was submitting at the hearing of Najib’s discovery application to seek a court order to compel the prosecution to produce several banking statements and other documents to his defence team in his 1MDB case, where Zeti is listed as the 26th prosecution witness to be called in the trial.
He added that the application has failed to satisfy the strict requirements of relevancy as the documents sought for must be necessary and desirable for the purpose of the trial.
Among the documents sought by Najib in his discovery application on March 24 were bank account statements for Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd, Country Group Securities Public Company Ltd, ACME Time Ltd (BVI), Butamba Investments Ltd, and Central Holdings Ltd, which were believed to be related to Zeti’s family and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
Meanwhile, for the second discovery application filed by Najib on April 7, in relation to the confidential agreement signed between the government of Malaysia and United States investment bank Goldman Sachs, Sri Ram said the documents required by Najib were not even in the prosecution’s possession.
“We have no control whatsoever over the sought documents including Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner’s mobile phone record. As the public prosecutor, what we have is the right to subpoena witnesses.
“Whether Leissner or Goldman Sachs bribed any witnesses is not relevant. The defence argued that there was a conspiracy between Jho Low and others in 1MDB but the accused also benefited from the funds,” he said.
In asking the court to dismiss Najib’s applications, Sri Ram submitted that the accused had failed to satisfy the strict test of relevancy under Section 51 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the production of the documents and items sought in both his applications.
Earlier, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the management of 1MDB, Ambank (where Najib opened his account) and BNM, which the lawyer described as “the last bastion” in protecting Najib’s fund, had also failed to alert the former prime minister over the red flags regarding huge sums of money that entered his account.
“There is some level of compromise and conspiracy in this institution (BNM). That is why the documents relating to Zeti become relevant. If her family members received a substantial amount of money from Low, her credibility is at stake,” Muhammad Shafee added.
Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed July 12 to deliver his decision for both applications.
Najib is on trial on four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
BERNAMA / ASTRO AWANI