KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has tested positive for Covid-19, causing the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit tampering trial to be postponed to June 14.
Defence lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed told the media that the High Court has been informed of Muhammad Shafee’s situation.
“He (Muhammad Shafee) got his PCR result on May 31, so today’s (court) date is vacated,” Wan Aizuddin said when met outside the High Court here on Friday (June 3).
The initially scheduled proceeding was to hear the prosecution’s application under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 to call former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy as a witness.
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Section 63 states that in a situation where two or more people are charged with an offence under this same law, the court may require one or more of them to give evidence as witnesses for the prosecution if a written application is made by the public prosecutor.
The application has been described by Najib’s defence as “the first in modern times” where a co-accused is sought to become a witness in the prosecution’s case.
Muhammad Shafee was supposed to object to the prosecution’s application in the hearing.
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On Monday (May 30), High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan was informed that Muhammad Shafee was down with high fever and sore throat, pushing Monday’s scheduled hearing to Friday.
Najib, 69, is accused of abusing his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report to avoid any action being taken against him while Arul Kanda, 46, is accused of abetting Najib in making the alterations.
Both men are charged under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.