The trial of former prime minister Najib Razak, who faces 25 corruption and money laundering charges involving RM2.28 billlion in 1MDB-linked funds will take place for 14 days beginning May 14.
At the case management in Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah set the trial dates, namely May 14, 15 and 17; May 28, 29, and 31; June 10, 11, 12, 13, 14; as well as June 18, 20 and 21.
The new dates were fixed after Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told the court that the original dates of the trial set from April 15 to May 3, would overlap with the other ongoing case faced by Najib, involving misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Harvinder said that High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set the hearing for the SRC case beginning April 3, and would resume from April 15 to May 10.
"As a result, Justice Nazlan, who had fixed all the trial dates of 1MDB and an addition of a week from the 6th to 10th of May for the SRC International trial, it leaves us with three weeks in May which is between 13th and 17th and the last week of May which are the trial dates for (Najib's lawyer) Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s case.
"I would personally prefer to start with Shafee’s case first as the case is much lighter and was registered earlier,” he said.
Justice Collin, however, refused, and said the court wished to proceed with the 1MDB case first, and set the trial dates for the 1MDB case on the dates originally set for Shafee's case.
The money laundering case faced by Muhammad Shafee was previously set on May 14, 15 and 17; as well as May 28, 29 and 31.
The court then set April 16 for case management to fix the hearing dates of Shafee's case.
Prosecution chief Gopal Sri Ram did not object to the matter.
Najib has been charged with four counts as a public officer, namely prime minister, finance minister and 1MDB chairperson, of using his position to attain gratification for himself.
In the first charge, he was alleged to be using his position to receive RM60,629,839.43 in gratification at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Jalan Raja Chulan here, between Feb 24, 2011, and June 14, 2011.
On the second accusation, Najib was charged with using his position to obtain RM90,899,927.28 in the same place between Oct 31, 2012 and, Nov 20, 2012, while in the third and fourth charges, he was alleged to have used his position to attain bribes worth RM2,081,476,926 and RM49,930,985.70.
The Pekan MP also faces 21 allegations of money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activities Act 2001, involving 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion.
Shafee, meanwhile, was charged with two counts of money laundering, namely by receiving two AmIslamic Bank Berhad cheques from Najib amounting to RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million respectively, which were then deposited into two CIMB Bank Berhad accounts belonging to the former.
The lawyer also pleaded not guilty to two charges of money laundering by filing false income tax statements to the Internal Revenue Board, in contravention of Paragraph 113 (1) (a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.