Najib’s 1MDB trial halts over Covid-19 fears involving defence team

Ad-hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram says he had also taken a test for Covid-19 after he was in contact with several people who might have been close to someone who was infected.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Najib Razak 1MDB trial here did not proceed today after the High Court was informed that defence team members have been ordered to go into self-quarantine over possible Covid-19 infection.

Lawyer Noor Farhah Mustaffa, appearing for Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and seven others, said a medical practitioner had advised them to be quarantined after the team attended a “kenduri” last weekend with Shafee’s sister-in-law.

Noor Farhah is not part of the 1MDB defence team but works for Shafee

She added that Shafee’s sister-in-law worked at Sirim Bhd and had been in close contact with an employee who tested positive for Covid-19.

“We undertake to provide the court copies of letters that they were ordered to be quarantined,” she told judge Collin Lawrence Sequarah.

Farhah added that her colleagues were ready to proceed with the 1MDB trial today but they wanted to seek a short adjournment in light of this news.

Ad-hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram then said this was a serious matter and that he had also taken a test for Covid-19 after he was in contact with several people who might have been close to someone who was infected.

“The result of the first test was negative. I am going for the second test tomorrow,” he said.

Sequerah then quipped: “The spread of the virus is faster than the speed of this trial.”

The court then ordered Farhah to produce the letters as well as the test result for Shafee’s sister-in-law.

“Unless I have the letters by tomorrow morning, I don’t see why the trial cannot proceed,” Sequerah said.

The 1MDB trial will be mentioned before Sequerah tomorrow.

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