Thursday, July 29, 2021

Najib loses bid for documents linked to Jho Low, Zeti’s family

The judge says the application for the documents is premature.

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Najib Razak today failed to obtain banking documents believed to be related to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and the family of former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

The former prime minister had sought a court order to compel the prosecution to supply the documents deemed relevant to the defence in his trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion funds from 1MDB.

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, in dismissing Najib’s request, said the application was premature because Zeti was not the person on trial and she had yet to be called as a witness in the 1MDB case.

“The respondent (prosecution) submitted that this (action) amounts to collateral attack, which is impermissible. The position that has been taken by the applicant (Najib) in the trial thus far is that Najib, in his capacity as the (then) prime minister and Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, was duped by Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

“In any event, it is still open to the counsel so they can confront Zeti with these matters when she is called to the stand.

“Therefore, I do not see how these bank documents mentioned, which are related to a certain sum of money received by Zeti’s family, are relevant to the defence’s advance,” said Sequerah.

The judge also rejected Najib’s second discovery application to obtain former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner’s mobile phone records, saying the respondent had made it clear that they did not have the documents.

“It is not open to the defence to direct the manner in which the prosecution ought to conduct their trial. It is evident that the phone records that the accused (Najib) is seeking are not part of the prosecution’s case against him and thus the prosecution is not obliged to furnish these documents,” he said.

Sequerah said in respect to the settlement agreement between Goldman Sachs and the government of Malaysia, the information sought by the applicant was generally stated and not specified.

“Casting the net far and wide in the expectation that something useful will materialise – this amounts to a fishing expedition, it is not permitted under the law. Therefore, the application is dismissed in its entirety,” he said.

On March 24, Najib filed a court order to compel the prosecution to produce several banking statements from companies, including Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd, Country Group Securities Public Company Ltd, ACME Time Ltd, Butamba Investments Ltd, and Central Holdings Ltd, believed to be related to Jho Low and Zeti’s family in his 1MDB case.

The Pekan MP filed his second application on April 7, seeking to obtain the confidential settlement agreement between the government and the Goldman Sachs Group entered into in 2020 and transcripts or forensic report on the phones of the former Goldman Sachs partner in Asia, Leissner.

Najib, 67, is on trial for 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.

The trial is scheduled to continue on Aug 17.

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