AG, Najib appeal against decision to start 1MDB trial on Aug 19

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Najib Razak want the 1MDB trial to wait until the SRC International case is over.

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution has filed an appeal against High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah’s ruling that Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial over alleged money laundering and abuse of power will proceed as scheduled on Aug 19.

As required under under the law, the notice of appeal was filed in the High Court today although the matter will be heard in the Court of Appeal.

In an unprecedented move, Najib filed a similar notice of appeal against Sequerah’s decision.

Criminal lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it had never happened before and will be interesting how the appellate court handled both matters.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib confirmed both parties have lodged appeals.

Sequerah, in dismissing Attorney-General Tommy Thomas‘ application yesterday to delay the 1MDB trial until Najib’s SRC International case is over, said the court did not find any reasonable cause to further delay the case.

“It is in the public interest for the (1MDB) case to proceed,” he said, adding that the trial had been stalled twice previously.

The 1MDB case will start on Aug 19 and run until Nov 14.

Najib’s on-going SRC International trial was supposed to end on Aug 15 but Thomas had previously said it was moving more slowly than the prosecution had expected.

Najib, in his affidavit filed in support of Thomas’ postponement bid, said he and his defence team might be prejudiced if both the 1MDB and SRC International trials proceeded at the same time.

“The same team of lawyers will have to do simultaneous preparations for both cases. I will not receive a fair trial,” he said.

Najib was slapped with 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power last September over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited in his AmBank account between February 2011 and December 2014.

He is also facing three different charges, the hearing dates for which had been fixed from Jan 13 to June 2020.