Tempers flared on the fourth day (April 17) of Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial. The day started with roughly 40 of Najib’s supporters gathering outside court to offer prayers. They claimed to have departed from Pahang at 5am.
Once the trial begins, defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh accused the prosecution of “putting words” into the second witness Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar’s (Bank Negara Investigation Officer) mouth. When Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim tried to rephrase the question, Harvinderjit sought direction from the judge, but was objected.
Cross-examination continued for the third witness Mohammad Nizam Yahya, then investigation officer in Bank Negara’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department. He directed Azizul on the raids after suspicion of offences committed under Part 4 of Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).
After dismissing Nizam, the fourth witness took over the stand. The witness is Bank Negara investigation officer Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin. Farhan testified orders were received from MACC officer Wong Chein Hong to hand over documents listing bank accounts related to Najib and the case.
Almost immediately, Harvinderjit sought a claim to the files Farhan mentioned. Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram went against this, questioning its relevancy and calling it a “fishing expedition”. Sithambaram said if this was allowed, the defence team will do the same for all other witnesses, delaying the trial.
The documents were said to be important to the defence because they detailed conversations between Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping and Jho Low, whereby the two discussed details on how to hide information about Najib’s account.
Besides, Harvinderjit cited The Wall Street Journal on publishing details about Jho Low’s texts on a Blackberry showing emails and communication between various figures involved in 1MDB.
Reports claimed the argument went on for almost an hour between both sides’ lawyers. In the end, Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled in favour of the defence, and compelled Farhan to provide the relevant documents.
Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah allegedly said Najib was a victim of fugitive businessman Jho Low, claiming the communication transcript requested will prove that.
The defence team’s tension did not subside while they were leaving the court. A law student approached Najib to ask question but a policeman tried to pry the student away almost immediately. In retaliation, Najib shouted at the policeman. But he apologised to the officer a moment later. The dramatic moment can be seen in this video.
Despite all the drama, details about the financial scandal is beginning to unearth. The next trial will be on April 18.