Court defers Najib-Irwan Serigar RM6.6b IPIC trial again to allow declassification of confidential govt papers for defence

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial involving RM6.64 billion in government funds paid to the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has been postponed again to allow the declassification of confidential government documents for the defence's use.

In this trial, Najib is also jointly charged with former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who is the second accused.

At the start of today's hearing in the High Court here, lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Datuk K. Kumaraendran acting for the two accused informed the court they were still lacking key documents — which are marked confidential under the Official Secrets Act — to prepare their client's defence.

Muhammad Shafee appeared for Najib while Kumaraendran appeared for Irwan Serigar.

“Yang Arif, those are very important documents to prepare my client's defence.

“Without those documents, it will prejudice my client," Kumaraedran told trial judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin.

Muhammad Shafee echoed Kumaraedran, saying that Irwan Serigar's defence would be equally relevant to his client since both accused were colleagues at the time of the offence.

When asked by Muhammad Jamil if the hearing could proceed today despite the lack of documents, Kumaraendran said he was 'completely handicapped'.

When asked, deputy prosecution head II Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi said the prosecution would require a month at least in order to declassify the documents sought by the defence.

The trial judge then vacated the hearing dates from today until July 18 to provide the prosecution time needed for declassification; and the defence the opportunity to go over the documents they had requested and make their preparations.

However, he warned parties the court will not tolerate further delays in hearing over incomplete document handovers between parties.

The IPIC trial is Najib's fourth criminal trial after the SRC International Sdn Bhd criminal trial, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial and the audit report tampering trial.

In October 2018, Najib and Irwan Serigar pled not guilty to six charges of CBT amounting to RM6.6 billion in government funds involving payments to IPIC.

Najib and Mohd Irwan Serigar were jointly accused of committing all the offences at the Finance Ministry Complex, Putrajaya between December 21, 2016, and December 18, 2017.

They were charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code read together with Section 34 of the same code which provides for a maximum of 20 years in jail and whipping as well as fine upon conviction.

Imprisoned since August 23, 2022, Najib is serving his 12-year jail sentence and RM210 million fine for his conviction over the misappropriation of SRC International’s RM42 million funds, which has recently been reduced to six years of jail and RM50 million fine by the Pardons Board.