Friday, April 5, 2019

The SRC International Trial Begins

On April 03, 2019, the first of many kleptocracy-1MDB-linked prosecutions finally began. 

Former prime minister Najib Razak (left) appeared in court on Wednesday to face seven of 42 corruption and money-laundering charges linked to his role in 1MDB, the state fund at the center of a global heist that allegedly saw $4.5 billion embezzled. 

His lawyers had sought delays to the trial, which was scheduled within 90 days of the charges being served in July. Initially set to kick off on February 12, it was stalled due to an appeal his legal team filed over procedural issues. That appeal was eventually dismissed, but not without further delays caused by, among other things, a pet dog injuring his lawyer’s wrist.

Amidst rumors of another postponement, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali proceeded with the hearing.

Attorney-general Tommy Thomas (right) led a team of 12 prosecutors, while Najib's defense team consists of 11 members, led by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah. In addition, three lawyers held a watching brief: AG Kalidas and Rajsurian Pillay for the Bar Council, and Revin Kumar for Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor. 

Thomas in his opening remarks told the court that “this trial should serve as precedents for all future holders of this august office". 

As he rightly put it: “Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution, that states ‘all persons are equal before the law’ is amply demonstrated by this trial. A former prime minister is charged under due process in an ordinary court of the land, like any other accused”. 

He vowed to tell all – from source of cash to the Chanel spending spree. 

He had highlighted: "The accused, between 17 August 2011 and 8 February 2012, as a result of the aforesaid, had received as gratification the said monies totaling RM42 million into his AmPrivate Banking-1MY no. 211-202-201188-0 and AmPrivate Banking-MY no. 211-202-201190-6 bank accounts". 

It is understood that 63 witnesses are listed for the trial, that will next be heard from April 15 to May 10. 

That day of infamy also marked exactly ten years since the disgraced Najib took office as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He was the sixth PM and the first former prime minister to find himself in the dock. Shame, shame, shame. 

Furthermore, his 1MDB trial will commence on May 14, with the High Court setting new dates after being informed that the previous trial dates were taken by Najib’s RM42 million SRC International case. 

High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah previously fixed April 15 to May 3 to hear Najib’s 1MDB case – the new trial dates will be on May 14, 15, 17, 28, 29 and 31. 

And proceedings will resume on June 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20 and 21.

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