KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The prosecution today said 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) former in-house lawyer Jasmine Loo could potentially be called in to testify in the High Court in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB’s funds.
Before the 1MDB trial proceedings ended for the day, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said that apart from 46th prosecution witness and former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the prosecution would call in three or four more witnesses to testify before the prosecution completes its case in this trial.
When Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah interjected to ask if Loo would be called in as a prosecution witness, Akram said “Jasmine Loo included in the three” that may be called before an investigating officer referred to as “Aida”.
“Two or three before Aida,” he said when indicating that it was not certain yet if Loo would be a witness.
But Akram also indicated it has yet to be decided if Loo would actually be called as a prosecution witness to testify in court in the 1MDB trial.
According to Akram, an analyst from Bank Negara Malaysia would be called as a prosecution witness tomorrow, followed by an investigating officer to testify on the money-laundering charges against Najib, while the investigating officer known as Aida would testify on the other charges against Najib.
Akram mentioned the possibility of Loo being a prosecution witness after Shafee applied to the High Court to temporarily pause his cross-examination of Zeti.
Pausing his cross-examination of Zeti this afternoon, Shafee applied to continue the cross-examination at a later stage, saying that he wants to first obtain a purported statement recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from former AmBank managing director Ashok Ramamurthy.
Former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex,, August 29, 2023. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Shafee also said he wanted to recall former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang who was the 39th prosecution witness to ask about Ashok’s purported MACC statement, and said he also wanted to ask an investigating officer in court about that purported MACC statement, before resuming his cross-examination of Zeti.
While judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah suggested that Shafee could finish cross-examining Zeti and recall her at a later stage if required, Shafee insisted on only continuing to pose questions to Zeti after he obtains this document. Shafee said Zeti’s testimony could be completed in a day if she resumes later on after Ashok’s statement is obtained.
But Akram told the judge that no statement has been recorded from Ashok and said the latter is not even part of the prosecution’s list of witnesses when it considered whether to charge Najib in this trial, confirming that Ashok is not part of the prosecution’s case.
Akram said Najib’s bid to recall Cheah would have to be done through an application in court and that the judge will be the one deciding if it is essential to recall him.
The judge later said Zeti would have to return at a later stage of the trial to continue testifying.
Tomorrow, an analyst from Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to testify in the trial as the 47th prosecution witness.
Shafee raised two issues regarding the next witness which he will be addressing, namely whether the 29-year-old BNM analyst is qualified to be an expert or analyst in financial matters, and whether that is in the field of expertise recognised by law.
Najib’s 1MDB trial resumes tomorrow.
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the 1MDB trial, which started on August 28, 2019.
Today is the 175th day of trial, based on the tally used by the defence.