Najib's 1MDB trial deferred after death of Gopal Sri Ram

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — The prosecution team for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial asked for the hearing to be deferred for today and tomorrow.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib this morning informed the High Court that although today was scheduled for the continued hearing of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial, they were asking for a postponement.

“In light of the sudden demise of Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram yesterday, Yang Arif, we humbly seek Your Lordship’s indulgence to allow for an adjournment for today’s proceedings on the basis the prosecution team will have to discuss for purposes of redistribution of various focus of works vis-a-vis the witnesses.

“For today, we are seeking adjournment on that basis. And tomorrow, the wake has been set for the morning until 1pm for non-family members to pay their last respects. We are informed the cortege will leave at 2pm for cremation which will be held at Nirvana Shah Alam.

“All of us, the prosecution team, is seeking Your Lordship’s permission to vacate this matter tomorrow to allow us to be there for both functions. Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram was our team leader and he’s like a father to all of us. So we would really like to be there tomorrow for the wake as well as the cremation, if Your Lordship allows us to be there, thank you, Yang Arif,” he said.

The wake tomorrow will be from 8am to 1pm at Nirvana 2 Kuala Lumpur, followed by prayers and the leaving of the cortege for cremation.

Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he had absolutely no objection in light of the sudden event and extended condolences to the prosecution team.

Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah then allowed the prosecution’s request and said the trial will resume this Thursday morning with the continued cross-examination of 41st prosecution witness and former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu.

Najib’s 1MDB trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds was initially scheduled to be heard today, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday for this week.

Shafee today told the judge that he had previously said the defence may take about two or three days more to cross-examine Yu, but now said they would probably be able to complete her cross-examination within one-and-a-half days or by this Friday.

Yesterday afternoon, Sri Ram — who was the lead prosecutor for the 1MDB trial — died at the age of 79 in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur, following a lung infection.

Apart from the 1MDB trial, Sri Ram was also the lead prosecutor for Najib's trial over the alleged tampering of the auditor-general's 2016 report on 1MDB.

Sri Ram was also the lead prosecutor for Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's trial over the soliciting and receiving of millions of ringgit in bribes in exchange for helping to secure a RM1.25 billion contract, and Rosmah's separate money-laundering trial — which has yet to start — involving over RM7 million.