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After six years, prosecution finally wraps up its case in 1MDB-Tanore trial

Publish date: Thu, 30 May 2024, 07:11 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore trial, which is now in its sixth year, has finally been partially concluded, with the prosecution closing its case on Thursday.

Parties will now make submissions, after which the court will decide on whether former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak - the sole accused in this trial - will be called to enter his defence, or walk free of the 25 abuse of power and money laundering charges related to misappropriation of the strategic development company's funds.

A total of 50 prosecution witnesses took to the stand, including former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh, former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, and once fugitive, former company general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan. 

"With that, since there are no more witnesses by the prosecution and no other cross-examination by the defence.[...] I would like to close the prosecution's case. After 235-trial days in the span of six years and 50 prosecution witnesses, the prosecution rests," deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib informed the court late on Thursday afternoon.

Akram said the prosecution has prepared a list of witnesses to be presented for the defence. He added that the list has grown through the course of the trial.

"Some [witnesses] have passed away. We have 49 witnesses offered to the defence," he said.

Trial judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah then set July 26 for the first round of submissions, and all parties are to be done with their submissions by Aug 9.

For the moment, oral submissions have been set for Aug 19 until Aug 22.

The court had also sat on two Saturdays - a first in 1MDB cases - in an effort to wrap up the case.

Sequerah is also no longer a High Court judge, as he was elevated to the appellate court in Jan 2023.

The trial began on Aug 28, 2019 with the late Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution. The former Federal Court judge passed away in Jan 2023 due to a lung-infection.

Najib, who was charged in 2018, faces four counts of abuse of power for using his position as the then prime minister, finance minister, and chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisers to receive gratifications worth US$620 million (RM2.27 billion). He also faces 21 money-laundering charges.

The ex-finance minister is currently serving his prison sentence after the apex court had dismissed his appeal and review in his SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

In February, the Federal Territories Pardons Board reduced the ex-prime minister's initial 12-year jail sentence and fine of RM210 million to six years and RM50 million.

Najib still has two pending court cases - a money-laundering trial concerning SRC and a RM6.6 billion criminal breach of trust (CBT) trial.

In the RM6.6 billion CBT trial, Najib is charged along with former treasury secretary general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah of misappropriation of government funds to pay International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

The trial is slated to begin on Tuesday, June 4.

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