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Speaking in court, not in public, says Sri Ram to Najib’s lawyer

Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram today warned top lawyer Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah not to hold a trial in the media regarding the RM2.3 billion 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption case involving the former prime minister.

The former High Court Judge told Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the media statements made by Muhammad Shafee yesterday were like an attack on prosecutors who accused them of hiding evidence in the case.

“Your Honor, there was a direct attack on the prosecutor’s office on behalf of the defendant (Najib), he (Muhammad Shafee) said that the prosecution did not disclose the transaction. The defendant must undergo his trial in court and not in public. I cannot answer openly and inappropriately answer openly,” he said.

He said the prosecution would have to apply to prevent the defense from speaking to the media, if they were to proceed with this action.

Yesterday, Muhammad Shafee stated that the money entered into Najib’s account in February and June 2011 totaling about RM60.6 million (about US$20 million) came from a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family, Prince Faisal Turki Al Saud.

The defense claims that the funds were part of a gift to Najib from the former governor of Medina Province, Saud Abdulaziz Majid Al Saud.

Lawyers said prosecutors only mentioned two transfer transactions, but did not mention five more transfers to Najib’s account between August 2011 and August 2012, allegedly from Prince Turki and Riyad’s Finance Ministry worth around US$180 million.

Muhammad Shafee has also disclosed a letter from the former governor addressed to Najib, stating the amount of donations made to the former prime minister.

At today’s hearing, Sri Ram explained that the same letter was filed in the trial of the SRC International Sdn Bhd case and the court judge, together with the High Court and Federal Court judges, had rejected the evidence.

“If they want to rely on the same letter in the public domain, you can’t say we (the prosecution) withheld (the information), it’s irrelevant,” he said, adding that the case was to prove that 1MDB money went into the suspect’s account.

At this point, Najib’s other lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed intervened saying that his case was a different matter and had nothing to do with the current trial.

“Your Excellency, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee will address the matter in court tomorrow morning,” he said, adding that Muhammad Shafee was not present in court today because he was not feeling well.

After hearing both sides’ arguments, Judge Sequerah said the court would wait for Muhammad Shafee’s response on the matter tomorrow.

Najib, 69, faces four counts of using his position to obtain RM2.3 billion in bribes from the 1MDB fund and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial continues this afternoon.- BERNAMA

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