Najib’s legal team raises concerns over “unfair news reporting” in ongoing 1MDB trial

“We (prosecution) cannot control what and how the media reports. What is important is that what she said in court will eventually become evidence.”

(Focus Malaysia) – FORMER premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legal team has filed a complaint with the High Court, alleging “unfair news reporting” regarding the ongoing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case.

Lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah voiced his concerns before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah, pointing out inaccuracies in reports claiming that Najib received and utilised US$681 mil linked to 1MDB to influence the 2013 general election.

“It was never proven in court that the US$681 mil was used to influence voters. (A sum of) US$620 mil (from the total) had been returned to the sender (in the same year),” said Shafee.

Expressing dissatisfaction with media outlets for what he deemed as inaccurate reporting, Shafee hinted at the possibility of contempt proceedings against these outlets.

Moreover, Shafee raised objections to investigating officer Nur Aida Arifin’s witness statement, claiming that she drew unwarranted “conclusions” about the case. He argued that the final outcome of the trial should be determined by the presiding judge, not a witness in the proceedings.

Shafee asserted that it was the prosecution’s responsibility to eliminate hearsay content from Aida’s statement, stating, “I will be taking objections (against Aida’s witness statement). My client has been prejudiced.”

In response, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib defended Aida’s statements, clarifying that she referred to a 2015 report lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The report alleged that 1MDB funds were used to buy votes during the 2013 general election. Akram emphasised that the prosecution couldn’t control media reports and assured that what Aida stated in court would eventually become evidence.

“We (prosecution) cannot control what and how the media reports. What is important is that what she said in court will eventually become evidence.”

Akram pointed out that MACC is duty-bound by the law not to disclose the identity of the real complainant.

“When it comes to filing a report (for the record) it will be done by an officer, not the complainant.”

Furthermore, he also pledged to make necessary amendments to Aida’s witness statement, including references to documents to be presented as evidence by Jan 8.

Najib is currently facing trial on 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power charges related to alleged 1MDB funds totaling RM2.28 bil deposited in his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.

The hearing continues as the legal teams navigate through contentious issues raised during the proceedings.