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Najib, Irwan RM6.6 billion CBT hearing to begin June next year

The High Court fixes 30 days between June 4 and July 31 for the duo's trial on charges involving payments to the International Petroleum Investment Company.

3 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 Kuala Lumpur High Court has set 30 days in June and July next year to hear the criminal breach of trust (CBT) case involving Najib Razak and former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah involving RM6.6 billion in government funds.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin fixed the dates following a request by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi.

The court set June 4 to 27 and July 2 to 31 next year to hear the case.

"The whole month of June and July is fixed for trial except Fridays," said the judge.

Today's proceeding was fixed for the prosecution to inform the court of the status of the representation submitted by Najib dan Irwan for the six charges against them to be dropped.

However, the court was not informed of the matter during the proceeding.

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 the International Petroleum Investment Company, or IPIC.

Najib and Irwan were jointly accused of committing all 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.

Earlier, Najib's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah requested the trial commence in July of next year, while counsel K Kumaraendran, representing Irwan, asked for an earlier trial as the case had been for almost five years, causing psychological stress to his client.

"I also want the court to consider the impact on my client. He has not been able to leave the country or proceed with his career advancement due to this," said Kumaraendran.

Apart from that, Shafee also raised the issue of the alleged leak of a 12-page internal memo that was purportedly sent by the lead prosecutor in the case, Jamil Aripin, to Tommy Thomas, who was the attorney-general at the time.

"This has become a public matter as it (memo) is in the public domain. In the document, a team of seven DPPs and five investigating officers is unanimous in taking the stance that the five charges are non-starters as they do not meet a minimum requirement and threshold for the CBT charges to be brought to court and to secure a prima facie case against the duo (Najib and Irwan).

"That is a very damning opinion against the prosecution going any further. In order to prove our defence, we are asking the DPP to take a stance on whether this leaked document is true, exists, and is genuine," he said, adding that the memo has become relevant because Najib's defence in the case is a total abuse of power and political persecution, especially when Thomas himself said he was a political appointee.

However, Kumaraendran told his fellow lawyer that the court is not a proper forum to raise about the alleged leak memo.

At this juncture, Saifuddin countered that he had no comment on the leaked memo.

When met by reporters after the proceedings, Shafee said he would write to the Attorney General's Chambers to remind them of the representations filed by Najib.

"The trial has been fixed in June and July... The representations that have been sent by both parties haven’t got any answers thus far," he said.

He also indicated calling Thomas to testify to support his defence that the case was a blatant abuse of process.