No One Is Above The Law Ag Says At Start Of Najib Trial


Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas today said the prosecution of Najib Razak for seven charges in relation to former 1MDB unit SRC International shows that no one in high office is above the law
He said the trial amply demonstrates Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution that all persons are equal before the law
“A former prime minister is charged under due process in the ordinary court of the land, like any other accused,” he said when reading the 11-page opening statement in Najib’s long-awaited trial
He said Najib, who occupied the nation’s most powerful office for nearly a year, had wielded near-absolute power
He added that Najib had also held the position of finance minister during the time when the offences were allegedly committed, thereby controlling the nation’s purse
“In holding the office of prime minister, and thus being the highest elected public officer and head of government, the highest trust was reposed by our people on the accused,” he said
Under such circumstances, he added, the law demands the highest standards of care in the discharge of duties and obligations as trustee of public offices
Besides holding the twin positions of prime minister and finance minister, he said, Najib was also appointed as chairman of the board of advisers of 1MDB and adviser emeritus of its subsidiary SRC International
He said a common feature of both companies was that the true power in directing and managing their affairs did not lie with the board of directors but with the accused
Thomas also said this trial is the first of many prosecutions linked to 1MDB
He said the prosecution would rely on direct and circumstantial evidence, both oral and documentary, that the accused is guilty of the charges
“The burden is now on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the criminal charges against him in this trial,” he added
The first prosecution witness to take the stand was the Companies Commission of Malaysia assistant registrar Mohd Akmaluddin Abdullah who gave his testimony through a witness statement
In the examination in chief conducted by deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup, Akmaluddin narrated the history of the formation of SRC, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd
“SRC was registered on Jan 7, 2011, with a paid up capital of RM1 million,” he said, adding that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier called him to record a statement
At the outset of today’s proceedings, the defence urged Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali to first hear an application that the abuse of power and criminal breach of trust charges were defective
Lawyer Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin, also in Najib’s legal team, said this matter should be ironed out before the trial started
In response, ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram said the prosecution would take the risk as it would have to prove the charges first before the court decided whether Najib must enter defence
Sithambaram said Najib would not be prejudiced if the trial started with the charges unaltered
“We could amend them in the midst of our case. They made this application with the intention of adjourning the trial,” he said
Nazlan later fixed the trial to continue from April 15 to May 10, despite lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh telling the court they had cases to attend to during that time
“Since this is a public interest case, it must be given priority. Parties must make alternative arrangements (for the other matters),” he added - FMT

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