War of words erupts between Najib's lawyers and prosecution team

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, on Oct 4, 2018.
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, on Oct 4, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - What was supposed to be a case mention for some of the charges faced by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak turned into a war of words between his lawyers and the lead prosecutor on Thursday (Oct 4).

They argued for around 50 minutes, chiefly on the format in which the documents were served to the defence team.

The lead prosecutor Sulaiman Abdullah raised an issue that the prosecution had tried to serve the documents under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, but were unable to do so despite all efforts.

Najib's lead counsel, Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said the documents were served in a CD-Rom format and not in hard copy.

He said Najib was given a CD-Rom on Aug 8 and when Najib visited his wife Rosmah Mansor at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Oct 3), an officer attempted to serve another CD-Rom to Najib.

"We can't read some of the documents in the CD format. Give us documents in a proper format so that it's something we can digest.

"What is so special about this case that we are given a CD format? Treat us as equal, not special. It is also standard practice for documents to be served to the counsel, not to my client," Muhammad Shafee said.

 
 
 
 

Sulaiman urged Muhammad Shafee and his team to get on with the trial, stop "painting insinuations" and wasting time.

"I don't know why my learned friends are so reluctant to meet us in a pretrial conference. Maybe because there's no publicity in the meeting," Sulaiman said.

To this, Muhmmad Shafee immediately stood up and said all the defence wanted were the documents.

He added that from day one, the defence had also offered to pay for the documents in a proper format.

Muhammad Shafee said: "I think my learned friend is treating this as a debating class. He was a debating champion in school apparently".

Sulaiman said the prosecution will serve the documents in hard copy within two weeks, while Muhammad Shafee said the defence needed only a week to study the documents.

Najib faces a total of 32 charges involving criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power. These include charges related to RM42 million allegedly paid by SRC International, a former subsidiary of state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), into his bank accounts.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali fixed the next case mention for the seven charges Najib faced for SRC-related charges on Oct 31.