Malaysia

Court to hear Najib’s 1MDB audit tampering trial August 12 as his lawyer Shafee down with laryngitis

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 21, 2022. — Picture by Hari Anggara

By Ida Lim

Monday, 04 Jul 2022 2:43 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial over the alleged tampering of the auditor-general’s report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will not proceed this afternoon as scheduled.

His lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is ill with laryngitis, two other members of the defence team Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed and Rahmat Hazlan said.

“Tan Sri Shafee has laryngitis,” Rahmat told Malay Mail, adding that the team wrote in to the High Court this morning to inform it of Shafee’s illness and that the hearing this afternoon has been vacated.

Laryngitis refers to the inflammation of the voice box or vocal cords in the throat.

Rahmat also said that Shafee received a medical certificate after being diagnosed with laryngitis at the KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital this morning.

He said the trial will resume on August 12, the next scheduled date.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam confirmed separately Shafee’s ill health and the postponement to August 12.

Today was supposed to be the second day of Shafee’s cross-examination of former 1MBD CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Arul Kanda, who had been an accused person in the same trial as having purportedly abetted Najib, was on June 25 called in to testify as the 15th prosecution witness instead.

Arul Kanda is expected to be the second last prosecution witnesses. The prosecution has said it intends to call the investigating officer as its final witness.

In this trial, Najib is accused of having abusing his role as then prime minister and then finance minister to be protected from civil or criminal action in the handling of 1MDB operations.

He is accused of giving instructions for amendments to the final auditor-general’s report on 1MDB that were supposed to be presented to the Public Accounts Committee between February 22 and 26, 2016.

He was charged under the Section 23(1) Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and if found guilty, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

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