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Najib-Irwan CBT case postponed over 'new developments'

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah says the case 'may not need to continue' in the event that the developments take place.

2 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
Former prime minister Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

The prosecution in the criminal breach of trust (CBT) case involving Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah on the International Petroleum Investment Company (Opic) today requested that the hearing of the case be postponed due to new developments.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi told High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin that this followed a letter of representation sent by K Kumaraendran, representing Irwan, to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

"The representation has been referred to the attorney-general (Idrus Harun) and his instructions are for me to apply for a postponement of the case... Many new matters were raised in the representation by Irwan's lawyer and we need time to confirm it," he said.

Saifuddin said the prosecution also received a copy of a letter from lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Najib, likewise requesting a postponement of the case today.
Meanwhile, Shafee told the court that he had sent a letter asking for the trial of the case this month and in May to be postponed in view of discussions involving a settlement between the Malaysian government and Ipic.

However, he said he could not reveal details as the matter was sensitive.

"Therefore, we request that the hearing be postponed to allow negotiations to proceed smoothly. If there is a development, this case may not need to continue," said the lawyer.

Today was the first day of the case trial. The court had also set April 4, April 8 to 11 and in May to hear the case.

Shafee told the court that he had sent a letter of representation for the charges against his client to be dropped two years ago, but it was rejected by the AGC.

"We plan to send a letter of representation again to withdraw the charges if there are new developments (regarding the settlement)," he added.

Kumaraendran then informed the court that he, too, had sent a representation in February 2020 without any response, and that a new representation was sent last month.

Judge Jamil allowed the trial to be postponed and fixed May 29 for mention for the prosecution to inform the court of the status of the representation of the two accused.

On Oct 24, 2018, Najib and Irwan pleaded not guilty to six charges of CBT amounting to RM6.6 billion in government funds involving payments to Ipic.

Najib and Irwan were jointly accused of committing the offences at the finance ministry complex, Putrajaya, between Dec 21, 2016, and Dec 18, 2017.

The charges were framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same law, which provides for a maximum of 20 years in jail and whipping as well as a fine upon conviction.

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