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Najib loses appeal for documents linked to Zeti's family for 1MDB trial

A three-man Court of Appeal bench unanimously dismisses his bid, saying the documents in question are not relevant to the charges against him.

3 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak.
Former prime minister Najib Razak.

Former prime minister Najib Razak lost his appeal today to obtain banking documents related to investment bank Goldman Sachs and the family of former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz for use in his 1MDB trial.

This followed a unanimous decision by a three-member Court of Appeal panel comprising justices Kamaludin Md Said, Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Nordin Hassan, dismissing Najib's appeal.

Nordin, who delivered the court's decision, said the documents sought by Najib related to alleged funds received by Zeti's family were not relevant to the charges against him, and that the documents would not assist him in his defence.

"The documents would not assist the appellant (Najib) in establishing his lack of knowledge of the transaction in his bank account. In addition, the appellant's defence as put to the prosecution witnesses was that he was duped by one Jho Low," he said.

He said the court found that Zeti's credibility, even if she was proven unreliable, would conclusively show consistency or inconsistency with the facts and issues in Najib's case.
In his application, Najib said the banking documents were relevant to his defence in his trial on the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion from 1MDB for the purpose of showing that Zeti's integrity, as the then governor of Bank Negara, was compromised, as well as to challenging her credibility.

On Najib's request for witness statements recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Nordin said that under the law, those statements were privileged documents.

He said the reason for not disclosing the witness statements was to avoid the real danger of tampering with witnesses.

On Najib's request to obtain former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner's mobile phone and password, Nordin said those items were not in the prosecution's possession and that the court would not act in vain.

"It is our unanimous decision that there is no appealable error by the High Court to both (of Najib's) originating motions which warrant the intevention of this court," he said, adding that the appeal was dismissed and the decision of the High Court affirmed.

Najib is appealing against the decision of the High Court on July 12 last year, dismissing two of his discovery applications to compel the prosecution in his 1MDB trial to disclose banking documents linked to Zeti's family on claims that her family allegedly received funds from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

Najib filed the application on March 24 last year to compel the prosecution to provide 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.

Najib filed a second application on April 7 last year seeking to obtain the confidential settlement agreement between the government and Goldman Sachs Group in 2020, and transcripts or forensic reports on the phones of Leissner, the former Goldman Sachs partner in Asia.

Najib 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 ongoing in the High Court before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

The former Pekan MP began serving a 12-year jail sentence at Kajang Prison after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds on Aug 23 this year.

Meanwhile, ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told reporters that the prosecution would call another seven witnesses including Zeti to testify in the 1MDB trial before closing its case.