KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial told the High Court today a provision governing the admission of trial documents under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act is constitutional as it was enacted to stamp out corrupt practices.
Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said this during submission in its bid to admit an audio recording of a conversation between the former prime minister and a United Arab Emirates (UAE) leader in the trial.
The prosecution had said the recording was important in rebutting Najib’s defence that the monies which went into his personal bank accounts were donations.
They are relying on Section 41A of the MACC Act to admit the recording.
Sri Ram told the court the Evidence Act imposed stricter conditions for the admission of the recording.
“Bringing corrupt individuals to justice in accordance with the strict rules (under the Evidence Act) may prove to be an insurmountable hurdle, especially in these days where transactions in the millions can be carried out electronically in the blink of an eye or where, as is here, millions in cash are surreptitiously handed over,” he said.
He denied that Section 41A infringed on Najib’s right to a fair trial, as the provision was used by the prosecution for all persons charged under the MACC Act.
Najib’s lawyer, Tania Scivetti, told the court that fellow lawyer Shafee Abdullah will respond to the prosecution tomorrow.
Previously, Shafee had said the legality of the recording was questionable, as no one knew if it was recorded properly under the law.
He also said that although several provisions under the MACC Act allowed the authorities to admit documents or materials they obtained in any proceedings, the provisions in question were unconstitutional.
Najib is standing trial on 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over the alleged misuse of 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited into his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.
In January 2020, then MACC chief Latheefa Koya disclosed nine audio recordings at a press conference, purportedly linked to SRC International and 1MDB.
The recordings allegedly featured Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, former deputy public prosecutor Dzulkifli Ahmad and other well-known individuals.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, with former AmBank banker Joanna Yu scheduled to testify.