Court allows Najib to inspect Justo’s documents given to MACC

Ex-PetroSaudi International Ltd executive Xavier Andre Justo when he gave his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission last year. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed an application by Najib Razak to inspect 17,000 documents given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) by ex-PetroSaudi International Ltd executive Xavier Andre Justo last year.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said the ex-prime minister’s application was not a fishing expedition, and the materials sought were relevant to the charges in the on-going 1MDB trial.

“The application is allowed and he has the right to inspect the documents,” the judge said.

Sequerah said it was of public knowledge that the information sought by Najib was handed over to MACC.

“Hearsay evidence is not an issue and the information is admissible under Section 41A of the MACC Act,” he said.

In addition, he said, the fact that Justo had given the information to MACC deputy chief commissioner Azam Baki had not been denied.

“This court also has the power to review whether the information is privileged and it is not for a head of department to decide,” he said, adding that public interest would not suffer if Najib had access to the documents.

Azam had affirmed an affidavit denying Najib the documents, saying it was confidential information under the Evidence Act.

Najib had sought the information to assist him in the defence of the 1MDB trial, which will resume on Jan 13.

Justo was a director based in PetroSaudi’s London office between February 2010 and April 2011.

He was said to have handed over a box containing documents and files on Nov 2 last year after being called to have his statement recorded by MACC investigators on the 1MDB scandal.

He acknowledged that Najib’s name was mentioned several times in the documents he had with him involving 1MDB. However, he did not mention the context in which his name was mentioned.

Lawyer Al-Firdaus Shahrul Naing represented Najib, who was in court today but left shortly after Sequerah allowed an application that his presence was not required.

The lawyer said during submission the documents were already in the possession of financial publication The Edge and whistleblower website Sarawak Report .

“In the interest of justice, my client must have access to the information,” he said.

However, ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said Najib was entitled to the information only if the court ordered him to enter his defence.

“This is a premature applicationand the use of the information during the ongoing prosecution will be mere hearsay evidence,” he said.

Sri Ram later told reporters he would advise MACC to hand over the documents stored in a pendrive to Najib’s legal team.

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.