By Aathi Shankar
Another bungle by the Attorney General’s Chambers in the corruption trial of former Datuk Seri Najib Razak was exposed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
Following a decision by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, Najib’s defence team can now cross-examine former Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, 48, on her unsworn original witness statement compared with her amended sworn copy.
Joanna Yu’s original witness statement was included in the pile of documents submitted by the prosecution to the defence in January.
However, late last week, the prosecution team led by Datuk V. Sithambaram submitted an amended version of the statement to the defence team led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Joanna Yu, the 54th prosecution witness, readout and signed the amended version as her sworn witness statement yesterday.
Normally amendment on a witness statement would be more on technical grounds, such as grammar or unwarranted questions and answers.
However, following scrutiny, the defence found that contents in Joanna Yu’s sworn amended statement were substantively different from her original copy.
Following an application by the defence yesterday, the judge allowed Najib’s defence team to cross-examine the witness on her unsigned original draft in comparison with the sworn witness statement.
“The court is allowing this application to show the differences,” decided Mohd Nazlan.
The prosecution team has earlier objected the application on grounds that a witness should be questioned based on a sworn witness statement that was signed and tendered in court in accordance with Section 402 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The defence team had argued that it had the right to question Joanna Yu on both documents due to the vast material differences found in their contents.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to SRC International funds.
The charges were 3 each for CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and 1 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.
The Pekan MP was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.