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Court dismisses Najib’s bid on witness interview in SRC case

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed an application by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to compel a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer to be interviewed by his defence team before testifying in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled that Najib’s right to a fair trial was not compromised by the refusal of Assistant Commissioner Mohd Nasharudin Amir to be interviewed as the witness is under oath even when subpoenaed.

“The intended witness is neither a prosecution witness nor offered to the defence. The fact that he is a public officer and the former investigating officer for another case does not change this position,” said the judge.

Mohd Nasharudin was an investigating officer in Najib’s RM2.28 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case.

In another development, ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram told the court he was informed that the defence will not be calling Australian document expert Dr Stevens Strach due to an impasse relating to the terms of Dr Strach’s appointment.

Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah confirmed this and said they have not been provided with any report or findings by Dr Strach from his examination conducted on Feb 11 and 12, apart from his preliminary report.

“We will therefore not be calling Dr Strach to testify,” said Muhammad Shafee.

Meanwhile, Sithambaram said the prosecution had no issue for Najib to inspect the original copy of the audio recording released by the MACC earlier this year but reserved the right to object to the admissibility of the recording on grounds of relevancy, necessity or any other grounds as allowed by law.

The audio recording allegedly involved leakage of information from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to Najib when he was the prime minister, together with several other recordings of phone conversations in connection to investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad and SRC International Sdn Bhd scandals.

On another matter, the prosecution said they will be providing the defence with MACC statements of witnesses they could not trace, including SRC International managing director and chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

In response to this, another lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh, said they will be reviewing the statements.

Muhammad Shafee also informed the court that former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali was set to testify in the trial today.

He said, however, Mohamed Apandi’s mother was unwell and the former AG has requested to testify at a later date as he intended to visit his mother in Kelantan.

Najib was making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three counts of money laundering  and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

— BERNAMA

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