By Aathi Shankar
Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho aka Jho Low must be produced before the court sooner than later if justice were to prevail in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB).
Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, that Jho Low must be quickly brought to Malaysia to testify to enable the court to determine the truth in the former prime minister’s case.
Shafee said this in his submissions in a hearsay application against the testimony of former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
Shafee recalled that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Hamid Bador had claimed a month ago that the police knew the exact location of Jho Low.
The advocate added that even Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had said Jho Low must be brought in.
“Natural justice is totally removed because I have no chance of cross-examining Jho Low, ” said Shafee, reported Bernama.
Shahrol Azral, 49, took his stand as the 9th prosecution witness yesterday, Monday in the Najib-1MDB trial.
In his 270-page witness statement, he had described the “close relationship” between the former prime minister and Jho Low, largely based on hearsay from third parties.
The defence raised objections this morning, the 12th hearing day of the trial, that most parts of Shahrol’s witness statement were hearsay.
Shafee said since no one could prove what the witness said especially when Jho Low was not around to take his stand.
He submitted that hearsay evidence, in general, could not be admissible unless Jho Low is being called to court.
Shafee argued that whatever Shahrol heard from Jho Low may not be the truth as the 8th witness, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who was Najib’s former special officer, had already testified that Jho Low was a “master manipulator”.
High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said that he would make his judgment on the hearsay objection at the end of the trial.
Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion in the 1MDB fund and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The Pekan MP allegedly perpetrated the offence at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad Branch, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24,2011 and Dec 19,2014 while for all charges of money laundering was between March 22,2013 and Aug 30,2013, at the same place.