Saturday, July 2, 2022

Bid to call Arul Kanda as witness postponed again as Najib’s lawyer down with Covid

Today’s hearing before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan has been vacated to June 14.

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The hearing of the prosecution’s application to call Arul Kanda Kandasamy as a witness in the 1MDB audit report tampering trial has been postponed again as Najib Razak’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has tested positive for Covid-19.

Najib’s other lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed said Shafee tested positive for Covid-19 on May 31, causing today’s hearing before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan to be vacated to June 14.

“The judge wants to hear the application as soon as possible so there is one additional date that has been fixed, namely on June 14,” he said when met by reporters outside the court.

The court was supposed to hear the application on Monday, but it was postponed to today after Shafee was reported to be unwell.

The application to call Arul Kanda to testify against the former prime minister was made under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The section states that in a situation where two or more people are charged with an offence under this law, the court may require one or more of them to give evidence as witnesses for the prosecution if a written application is made by the public prosecutor.

On May 20, lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said Arul Kanda might have information relating to transactions with Najib which would affect the outcome of the prosecution of the former finance minister.

Najib, 68, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the final 1MDB audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to prevent any action from being taken against him.

Arul Kanda, 45, is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report, to protect the former prime minister from being subjected to action.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre, Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

Both Najib and Arul Kanda were charged under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

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