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Thursday, January 31, 2019

IN DANGER-FILLED GAME, CHIEF WITNESS IN NAJIB’S TRIAL UNDER WITNESS PROTECTION: AT ALL COSTS, A REPEAT OF ALTANTUYA, HUSSAIN NAJADI & KEVIN MORAIS MUST BE AVOIDED

FORMER SRC International Sdn Bhd director, Suboh Md Yasin, will be the prosecution’s main witness in the trial of Najib Razak, who faces 10 charges involving the transfer of funds from the 1MDB subsidiary into his accounts, sources said.
Anti-graft sources told The Malaysian Insight that Suboh has been placed under a witness protection programme until the trial starts on February 12.
Apart from Suboh, the prosecution is expected to call 60 witnesses, mostly senior officers from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), bankers, directors and lawyers.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has been after Suboh, SRC managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and businessman Low Taek Jho since 2015 to assist in investigations relating to the alleged transfer of funds, totalling RM89 million, from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd unit into Najib’s bank accounts.

Suboh surrendered to MACC last year after being on the run for three years, hiding in Indonesia, Thailand and as far away as New Zealand.
MACC recorded Suboh’s statement in November 2015 in Indonesia but he reportedly did not cooperate out of fear, as Najib was then still the prime minister.
However, after the 14th general election in May last year, when Pakatan Harapan defeated Barisan Nasional and Najib was no longer in power, MACC together with officers from Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency met Suboh in Jakarta again.
This time, the anti-graft busters secured his cooperation as Najib was no longer prime minister.
The other two – Nik Faisal and Low, popularly known as Jho Low – are still on the run and they, too, are suspected to be hiding in Indonesia, London or China.
Nik Faizal was appointed SRC International’s first chief executive officer in 2011 as a wholly owned subsidiary of 1MDB while Low is the central figure in the 1MDB scandal.
On Monday, Najib was slapped with an additional three charges, making it 10 charges involving a total of RM89 million, linked to SRC.
He was slapped with seven charges in July and August last year over RM42 million.
Najib has, to date, appeared in the courts six times to hear 42 charges against him related to the 1MDB scandal.
Last September, Najib was slapped with 25 charges related to 1MDB. Four were over abuse of power and 21 under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, Prevention of Terrorism Financing and Revenue from the Illegal Activity 2001 (Amla).
A month later, he, together with former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, were jointly charged with criminal breach of trust involving RM6.6 billion of government funds.
In other charges related to the 1MDB scandal, Najib last December was also charged with abusing his powers by instructing amendments be made to 1MDB’s final audit report.
Former 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, was similarly charged with alleged amending the report.
Najib, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Najib’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, applied for the February 12 trial date be postponed on the grounds that the court has to wait for higher court decisions on the three applications related to the trial.
The three are Najib’s challenge against the appointment of Sulaiman Abdullah as the government’s lead prosecutor, restrictions on the media and the public to discuss the case and the lawyer’s application for documents related to the case.
The prosecution objected to them, calling them inappropriate and trivial. The Court of Appeal has set February 7 and 8 to hear the three applications.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com

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