Najib Razak has filed an objection to stop former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim from linking him to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, saying this would amount to hearsay evidence.
His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said such evidence could only be given if the prosecution undertakes that Low, better known as Jho Low, appears in court.
The former prime minister also said the police or Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should locate the businessman so that he can be produced in court.
Shafee today urged the court not to accept evidence given by Shahrol as Jho Low had also been described as a “manipulator” by an earlier witness, Najib’s ex-aide Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.
He said the truth could only be revealed if Jho Low was put on the witness stand and cross-examined by the defence.
“My client would be denied a fair trial if hearsay evidence was admitted in this case,” he said.
He added that trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah could also be influenced by Shahrol’s evidence.
Jho Low is not listed as one of the prosecution’s 60 witnesses, nor has ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram indicated that he will testify in this trial.
On May 31, top cop Abdul Hamid Bador said Jho Low’s location had been determined and that the businessman was expected to be detained.
At Najib’s SRC International trial, MACC investigating officer Rosli Hussain said the agency was also looking for Jho Low, who left Malaysia on May 29, 2015.
Sri Ram, in response to Shafee’s submission, said he would put forth further arguments at the close of the prosecution’s case.
“At this stage, Shahrol’s testimony is not hearsay evidence,” he said, adding that the evidence of witnesses is only meant to show their state of mind.
For Shahrol, he said, it was to show that he had been influenced by Jho Low as the businessman gave the impression that he was very close to Najib who was prime minister at the time.
He also said Shahrol’s testimony amounted to circumstantial evidence, one of the modes on which the prosecution is relying to establish a prima facie case.
Sequerah said Shafee could raise objections if Shahrol gave hearsay evidence during examination and re-examination by the prosecution.
“I will decide whether that portion of evidence is admissible at the close of the prosecution’s case,” he added.
Najib is facing 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds in his AmBank accounts.
He is accused of abusing his position to obtain RM2.28 billion in bribes in February 2011 and December 2014.
He is also said to have transferred RM2.28 billion in illegal funds to his bank accounts and to have subsequently used the money.