KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 -- The 10th prosecution witness who was expected to take the stand in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial today could not make it as the defence objected to his witness statement which they regarded as hearsay.
The defence led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah contended that out of 118 pages of Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman’s witness statement, 24 of them were merely hearsay.
The defence today presented to the court the witness statement, highlighting the said paragraphs which “ought to be omitted” in yellow.
Mohd Hazem who was scheduled to give his testimony today had joined 1MDB as the chief operating officer (COO) in August 2012 before succeeding Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi as the chief executive officer in 2013.
Muhammad Shafee in his oral application quoted a few lines in Mohd Hazem’s witness statement which outlined that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low had told him (Mohd Hazem) the sovereign wealth fund was built to administer funds into UMNO.
“The evidence are all hearsay, perhaps one or two lines are 50-50. If we ask him how does he know if it is true, the witness will say that “this is what Jho Low told me, why don’t you ask him?”
“But we can’t ask Jho Low because he is not here,” said the lawyer.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib objected to the application by saying the same matter was brought up during Shahrol Azral’s statement which the defence had alleged as hearsay.
“To read the witness statement is not hearsay at all. The point is to show the abuse of power committed by the accused, as what has been reflected to the witness by Jho Low.
“All these highlighted portion in the next witness statement are not hearsay and admissible under Section 6 of the Evidence Act. This is the way the witnesses tell their stories.
“At the end of the day, in unfolding the narrative of their stories, they have to say why they did what they did,” said Ahmad Akram.
Towards the end of his submission, the DPP asked Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah who is presiding over the case if the prosecution wanted to proceed to call Mohd Hazem to the stand today, which the judge disallowed as he needed time to make a decision on the matter.
Justice Sequerah is expected to deliver his decision when the trial resumes tomorrow afternoon.
Najib, 67, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Justice Sequerah continues tomorrow.
Malaysian National News Agency
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