KUALA LUMPUR: Operation of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is likened to running a Chinese coffee shop, the High Court here was told today.
The analogy was made by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram during the trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak for alleged misappropriation of RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds.
Sri Ram, who is a former Federal Court judge, said this when objecting to lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed’s cross-examination of former 1MDB chief executive officer Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, which he deemed was irrelevant to Najib’s defence.
“We agree on that for what it’s worth, the affairs of 1MDB is run along the line and managed in a Chinese coffee shop in Petaling Street.
“Our case is that Jho Low (referring to fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho) was the alter ego and mirror image of the accused (Najib) and they are working together…we only tolerated this line of cross-examination only because it is completely irrelevant to our case,” Sri Ram told Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Earlier, Justice Sequerah questioned Wan Aizuddin’s line of questioning Mohd Hazem, who is the 10th prosecution witness, on a prospectus that was submitted to Bursa Malaysia for a proposed listing of Initial Public Offering (IPO) for a subsidiary of 1MDB, 1MDB Energy.
Wan Aizuddin, representing Najib, said it was to show mismanagement in 1MDB, for which his client was blamed.
In response to Wan Aizuddin’s question, the 49-year-old witness said he only had basic knowledge on the IPO and was only aware on the draft of the prospectus, adding that he was unable to recall the exact date of the prospectus being submitted to Bursa in 2014.
However, Wan Aizuddin keep pressing the witness on the issuance of 1MDB Energy IPO.
He said just like the prosecution, the defence also needed to prove their case that there was misconduct and negligence in the affairs of 1MDB committed by Jho Low.
Justice Sequerah then asked Wan Aizuddin to continue with the next line of questioning and asked him to put his contention in submission later.
“If the witness tells you he doesn’t know, then stop there and include it in your submission,” said Justice Sequerah.
Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Justice Sequerah continues. –Bernama