KUALA LUMPUR: In a surprise turn of events, the prosecution in the 1MDB audit report tampering case gave notice to the High Court today that Najib Razak’s co-accused, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, would be called to give evidence, sparking protest from the former prime minister’s lawyer.
Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan that the public prosecutor would apply in writing under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act to call Arul to testify on the prosecution’s behalf.
“We will be addressing the court on this part of the case at the appropriate stage,” he said in his opening statement.
Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing Najib, said this was unconstitutional and that he would address the matter at the right time.
“I reserve my rights on the matter as using Section 63 is unconstitutional,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer N Sivananthan, who is appearing for Arul, said the disclosure was tantamount to throwing a bombshell, adding that use of the provision was unheard of.
“I can’t recall if this provision has been used before by the prosecution in any other case,” he told reporters later.
Sivananthan also said he would apply to the trial judge to drop the charge against his client after Arul completes his testimony, should the prosecution invoke the provision.
Section 63 states that whenever two or more persons are charged with an offence, the court may, on an application in writing by the public prosecutor, require one or more of them to give evidence as a witness or witnesses for the prosecution.
Those who refuse to answer lawful questions will be dealt with by the court.
Najib is accused of using his position to obtain immunity from legal action in relation to allegations that he tampered with the 1MDB audit report between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.
Arul meanwhile is charged with abetting Najib.
If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to 20 years.