1MDB trial: Prosecution seeks to admit recording of conversation between Najib and Middle-Eastern leader

The recordings for identification were sought to be included in the trial, but also rebut the former premier's defence that monies went into his personal bank accounts were donations.


November 16, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – 1MDB trial: Prosecution seeks to admit audio recording of alleged conversation between Najib and Middle-Eastern leader

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case on Tuesday (Nov 15), has sought to admit audio recordings for identification in the trial, to rebut the former premier’s defence that monies went into his personal bank accounts were donations.

Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram submitted that the audio recording of an alleged conversation between Najib and a Middle-Eastern leader was highly relevant to refute the accused’s defence.

“We say that the contents of the tape and transcript will go to some extent if not the whole length to rebut the defence that the accused received a donation and that he thought he was dealing with monies that were donated to him.

“I have to meet that defence and I have to rebut that defence, for that purpose this evidence is highly relevant,” he said at Najib’s trial of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3bil of 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

On Monday (Nov 14), Sri Ram played an audio clip in court, with the 42nd prosecution witness, namely former Treasury secretary-general, Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah identifying one of the voices there as sounding like Najib’s.

The voice identified as sounding like Najib had addressed the other individual as “Your Highness” and spoke about the need to resolve an impasse regarding 1MDB and International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) which was alleged to be embarrassing to both Malaysia and the UAE.

Sri Ram said that the recording should be admissible under Section 41(A) of the MACC Act and that it is a “special provision” which takes precedence over Section 65 of the Evidence Act that deals with documentary evidence.

“For that purpose, we also submit that a tape recording, a recording of this nature, is a document. My Lord, even if the audio was obtained irregularly or illegally, it will still be admissible,” said the prosecutor.

Section 41(A) of the MACC Act states that where any document or a copy of any document is obtained by the MACC under this Act, such document shall be admissible in evidence in any proceedings under this Act, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other written law.

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, objected to the audio recording and the transcript being admitted as evidence in the trial, suggesting that this was an “illegal taping” and not to be used in court, and also highlighted that the conversation was between two heads of state.

The trial before High Court Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Wednesday (Nov 16) with The Edge Media Group chairman Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong expected to take the stand. – Bernama

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