Najib and Irwan’s IPIC trial postponed again, judge warns against further delay

najib and irwan’s ipic trial postponed again, judge warns against further delay

Najib and Irwan’s IPIC trial postponed again, judge warns against further delay

KUALA LUMPUR (June 19): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's fourth criminal trial has been postponed again, following the previous postponement on June 4.

The trial where Najib is accused along with former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah on six counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) — over more than RM6.6 billion of government funds to International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) — was supposed to start on Wednesday after several postponements.

At what was supposed to be the beginning of the trial on Wednesday morning, before High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin, Irwan's lead defence counsel Datuk K Kumaraendran said that there were hundreds of documents, which the prosecution had not provided to the defence team, and out of those, some had yet to be declassified.

These documents, he said, are pivotal for the accused to come up with a defence and inform the prosecution of the defence's stance.

Among the documents were memos from the Ministry of Finance to Minister of Finance Inc, Cabinet meeting memos, and letters and emails referred to in the witness statements.

In this trial, Najib is represented by senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who has represented Najib in his other criminal trials, including the 1Malaysia Development Bhd-Tanore (1MDB-Tanore) case, which saw the prosecution wrap up its case in May after six years.

The prosecution said that they will call 48 witnesses during the prosecution stage.

'No more adjournment'

After spending about half an hour to organise dates between parties, they settled on July 22 for the case to begin. The dates set so far are July 22-25 and 29-31.

Shafee then told the judge that they can add more dates when the trial begins on July 22. Shafee had explained that his dates are tight as he has numerous trials in the coming months, most of them involving Najib as his client.

After setting the dates, Jamil asked parties to hand over all documents, and warned against more delays.

“I ask the prosecution to pass all documents to the defence before the trial begins, and I hope no more documents need to be given. The excuse that more documents need to be given or have not been given, I don’t want to hear it anymore,” he said.

“How many times have we postponed? Today (Wednesday) also we can’t go on, because of documents that haven’t been given by the prosecution. I don’t want the trial not to start because of documents. It will start on July 22 at 9am,” he said.

This case has been postponed for approximately six years to make way for Najib’s other criminal trials, such as the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial and the 1MDB-Tanore trial.

1MDB borrowed US$1.2 billion from IPIC in 2015. The sum was repaid by 1MDB under a settlement agreement inked in 2017. 1MDB said at that time that it raised the funds for repayment via asset sales, but did not give details.

The subject of the diversion is the subject of the six CBT charges, as the RM6.6 billion government funds were initially allocated for, among others, Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia, the East Coast Rail Link project, and funds for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. There was also a sale of some Bank Negara Malaysia land to repay IPIC.

In February 2023, IPIC and its subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS agreed to pay the Malaysian government US$1.8 billion (RM8.26 billion). The settlement was in respect of the legal proceedings in the London Court of International Arbitration and the London High Court.

However, it is not known whether the sum has been repaid to the Malaysian government. As for the 'settlement' representation letters sent by both Najib and Irwan, the outcome has not been determined until now.

Najib and Irwan's IPIC trial postponed to June 19

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