By Aathi Shankar
For months the prosecution via the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has abused its power to block Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s access to vital bank documents pertaining to his own accounts in Ambank.
Today, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali adjudged that the prosecution had no power or whatsoever to prevent Najib from obtaining those documents from the bank.
“There is no law that allows the prosecution to prevent disclosure of the bank documents (to Najib),” said the judge.
He allowed the defence application to order the prosecution to stop preventing the release of bank documents to former Prime Minister Najib.
The defence team led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has been obtaining Najib’s bank documents from Ambank without hindrance way before Najib’s trial began until a few months ago.
When the defence enquired the reasons for the bank’s sudden refusal to release those documents, the Ambank management has revealed that the MACC investigation officer, namely one Rosli, had given specific instructions to block Najib’s access to his own documents.
Even if allowed, MACC will first vet those documents and select the papers to be released to Najib.
This is a clear cut case of the prosecution abuse of power and arm-twisting tactic to hamper and sabotage Najib’s case preparations.
The bank documents are crucial to the defence team to prepare the former premier’s cases pertaining to the SRC International Sdn Bhd, 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), income tax and asset declarations.
Faced with the blockade, the defence raised the matter to the judge three months ago and again last week.
Knowing that the application will be heard today, the prosecution late last week handed over the documents to the defence before the application was even heard, apparently to stop Shafee’s team from pursuing the matter.
However, the defence refused to budge and pushed for the matter for a decision, crucial to prevent future recurrence of similar abuse of power by the prosecution or MACC.
The prosecution argued that Najib was denied access to his own bank documents to prevent interference into on-going investigations.
But the prosecution team led by Attorney General Tommy Thomas and private lawyer Datuk V.Sithambaram could not produce a single provision under the law to back its argument.
Judge Nazlan brushed it aside, saying that “the prosecution argument has no merit.”
He said Datuk Seri Najib was “entitled to have his bank account documents.”
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.