The defence team of former Malaysian premier Najib Razak challenged the Malaysian authorities to drag fugitive businessman Jho Low to the courts saying his testimony will prove their client is innocent.
They also told the court the police said they knew where Jho Low is hiding and they will bring him back to Malaysia to face justice but they did not deliver.
According to the lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Jho Low should quickly be brought in so the court could determine the truth in Najib’s case.
Najib’s defence is apparently resting on Jho Low’s testimony and if he is dragged to court to explain how he supposedly manipulated the ex-PM, then Najib may walk free from the 1MDB saga.
The closest the Malaysian police have come to catching Jho Low was when he was in Macao, according to media reports, but the latter flew from the Chinese gambling den to mainland China.
Interpol is also struggling to find the elusive and shadowy character whom Najib himself said he has not been in touch with after the 1MDB scandal broke into the public domain in 2015.
But he later admitted he maintained contact with the baby-faced businessman who is now seen as one of the masterminds behind the 1MDB saga.
Shafee told the courts yesterday (Sept 24) that natural justice has been totally removed because he has no chance of cross-examining Jho Low.
Shafee said whatever the witnesses heard from Jho Low may not be the truth as Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who was Najib’s former special officer, had labelled Jho Low as a “master manipulator”.
His argument is why must anyone accept Jho Low’s words when “he manipulated the entire event, TIA, 1MDB and in fact the PM [prime minister]?”
Another witness in the 1MDB case, a former CEO of the sovereign fund, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi described to the court the close relationship between the former prime minister and Jho Low.
Shafee said it was all “hearsay” since nobody could prove what the witness said because Jho Low had not appeared. He submitted that hearsay evidence, in general, could not be admissible unless Jho Low is being called to court.
The prosecution was entitled to show that Najib was not and could not have been misled by Jho Low, said the Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram.
Amhari, who was another aide to Najib when the latter was prime minister, testified that Najib did not make any adverse response or appear surprised at all when informed of Jho Low’s instructions through a draft of a letter.
“This is conduct accompanying the words spoken by Jho Low,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecution Najib was not an ordinary person but was the prime minister and the most powerful person in the country when the alleged offences were committed and the witnesses showed how they acted upon Jho Low’s statement which they verified with the accused.
The accused state of mind showed he was never surprised or taken aback by what he heard from the witnesses or the instructions given to them by Jho Low.
Najib, 66, faced four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling 2.3 billion Malaysian ringgit (US$550 million) from 1MDB. He is also facing 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. -/TISG