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Thursday, October 31, 2019

NAJIB 1MDB TRIAL - Day 28: Eye problem again prevents Najib from attending court


The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged abuse of power and money laundering of 1MDB funds enters its 28th day today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.

Summary of Najib’s 1MDB ‘donation’ case

Najib is facing 25 charges of receiving RM2.28 billion, which originated from 1MDB through Tanore Finance Corp, a company owned by Eric Tan, a close associate of fugitive businessperson Jho Low.

Thank you for following Malaysiakini's live report
3.05pm - Thank you for following our live report today.

Eye problem again prevents Najib from attending court
2.55pm - Najib Abdul Razak is again unable to attend court proceedings due to an eye problem.
This is relayed by the former prime minister's lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah when proceedings resume this afternoon.
Shafee says as he was heading to the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex from the Federal Court at Putrajaya after 11.15am, he received a call from Najib informing about the eye allergy affecting both eyes.
"As I was coming back, I received a call from Najib saying (he met a) doctor at ISEC (International Specialist Eye Centre).
"He had to go there again as there was a swelling in both eyes, which became worse. Suspecting it was conjunctivitis, he appeared before the doctor, and the doctor was suspicious it was not conjunctivitis.
"The test result showed he is allergic to certain things that need to be investigated," the senior lawyer says.
Shafee (above) explains that tomorrow morning, Najib will go for a full blood test and that depending on his condition, he (Najib) may not be able to visit the BN machinery at Tanjung Piai for the upcoming by-election there.
The lawyer says that he has a one-day MC for Najib and microscopic pictures of the accused's affected eyes, which has been shared with the High Court as well as the prosecution.
"The microscopic pictures of the two eyes, you can see there, attached are the pictures.
"Only three of us (including the court and the prosecution) have the pictures.
"I hope we protect it (pictures) so it does not go to the internet and become a subject of Halloween (which falls today Oct 31)," Shafee says.
He says that Najib apologises to the court profusely for not being able to come, adding that the swelling is visible on the fleshy parts surrounding his eyes that it could not even be covered up by sunglasses.
When lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram does not raise any objection, Sequerah allows proceedings today to be postponed to Monday next week.
The judge also allows an application by Sri Ram for proceedings for Tuesday to Thursday and Monday to Thursday the week after, to have extended sessions from 9.30am to 6pm. The defence team does not raise any objection.
During proceedings, Shafee also seeks for any minutes of 1MDB meetings from 2009 to 2015 that may likely be with the prosecution, to which Sri Ram (photo) says no objection as long as it is a document that the prosecution has in its possession.
Sequerah also sets Nov 21 for case management of Najib's application under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code to compel the prosecution to hand over documents that Swiss whistleblower Xavier Justo handed to MACC.
After proceedings, Shafee tells the media that his client is in pain due to the eye condition.
"It is particularly painful especially when exposed to the light or sunlight. It was not just the eye, but the fleshy part around the eye swelled," Shafee says.
When met after proceedings, DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib confirms that the prosecution on Nov 21 will object to Najib's application to obtain the Justo documents.
This is not the first time that Najib's criminal trials were postponed due to his eyes, with his RM42 million SRC International trial on Aug 14 being postponed due to eye conjunctivitis, and his RM2.28 billion 1MDB trial on Sept 11 also postponed due to conjunctivitis.

2.45pm - Proceedings resume, minus Najib Abdul Razak.

2.43pm - Lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram and Najib Abdul Razak's lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah are seen exiting High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah's chambers.
Accused former premier Najib still not seen in court.

2.35pm - Najib Abdul Razak's lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram are seen entering the chambers of High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
The accused former prime minister is not seen in court so far.

The 28th day of former premier Najib Abdul Razak's RM2.28 billion 1MDB trial will start later at 2.30pm today rather than the usual 9.30am.
Yesterday, the accused's lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had applied for the delay in resuming the hearing before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
The veteran legal practitioner informed the court that he needed to attend a Federal Court appeal this morning in relation to a drug trafficking case under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
When proceedings before Sequerah resume this afternoon, Shafee will continue cross-examining the ninth prosecution witness, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
Yesterday, Shahrol testified that PetroSaudi International director Tarek Obaid was paid US$85 million, which stemmed from US$700 million that was purportedly diverted from the 1MDB-PetroSaudi joint venture.
During questioning by Shafee who produced bank documents in court, Shahrol agreed that Tarek, who allegedly received the US$85 million as commission for the 1MDB-Petrosaudi joint venture, then paid US$33 million to another PetroSaudi director, Patrick Mahony. - Mkini

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