Najib’s lawyer in 1MDB trial: Get Jho Low here so he can be quizzed
(MMO) – The Malaysian authorities should recover fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho in order to question him regarding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco instead of having witnesses tell the court what he had said, a lawyer said today.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah argued that the court should not accept evidence given by prosecution witnesses of what Low had allegedly told them, due to Low’s “manipulative” nature.
“What Jho Low said is not necessarily true. We have shown through Amhari and Amhari said Jho Low is a master manipulator,” Shafee said during his client Najib’s corruption trial over 1MDB, referring to eighth prosecution witness Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin who was former special officer to Najib.
Shafee argued that Low could still be manipulating and could have manipulated the issue of 1MDB and its predecessor Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) and then prime minister Najib or manipulating other witnesses.
Shafee noted that the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had recently said that Low’s location has been identified. (Low has fled abroad and has yet to be brought back to the country).
“I would like Jho Low to be produced as quickly as possible so that he can be interviewed,” Shafee said.
Shafee had objected to the ninth prosecution witness and former TIA CEO and former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi testifying in court of what Low was said to have told him in the past, arguing that this amounted to hearsay and should not be admitted as evidence in court.
“We are saying that this current witness quotes Jho Low and Jho Low is not here to be cross-examined.
“And it becomes very difficult for Yang Arif to ascertain whether Jho Low is telling the truth or if he is using this method of quoting Jho Low in order to perjure,” Shafee said, noting that Low is not present to be questioned.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is expected to respond to Shafee’s objections to witnesses telling of what Low had told them.
Shahrol is expected to continue testifying today, which will also be the 12th day of Najib’s trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involves 25 criminal charges — four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.