PUTRAJAYA, Dec 8 — Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak lost his appeal today to get banking documents relating to investment bank Goldman Sachs and former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s family for use in his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial.
This follows a unanimous decision by a three-member Court of Appeal panel comprising Justices Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Wira Ahmad Nasfy Yasin and Datuk Nordin Hassan in dismissing Najib’s appeal.
Justice Nordin, who delivered the court’s decision, said the documents sought by Najib relating to alleged funds received by Zeti’s family were not relevant to the charges faced by him and the documents would not assist him in his defence.
“The documents would not assist the appellant (Najib) to establish his lack of knowledge of the transaction in his bank account. In addition, the appellant’s defence as put to the prosecution witnesses was that he was duped by one Jho Low,” he said.
He also said the court found that Zeti’s credibility, even if she was proven not to be reliable, would conclusively show consistency or inconsistency with the facts and issues in Najib’s case.
In his application, Najib said the banking documents were relevant for his defence in his trial involving misappropriation of RM2.3 billion funds from 1MDB for the purpose of showing that Zeti’s integrity as the then governor of Bank Negara was compromised as well as to challenge her credibility.
On Najib’s request to get witness statements which were recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Justice Nordin said under the law, those statements are privileged documents.
He said the reason for not disclosing the witness statements is to avoid the real danger of tampering with witnesses.
Regarding Najib’s request to obtain former Goldman Sachs banker Tim Leissner’s mobile phone and password, Justice Nordin said those items were not in the prosecution’s possession and the court would not act in vain.
“It is our unanimous decision that there is no appealable error by the High Court to both (of Najib’s) originating motions which warranted intervention of this court,” he said, adding that the appeal was dismissed and the decision of the High Court was affirmed.
Najib is appealing against the decision of the High Court on July 12 last year in dismissing two of his discovery applications to compel the prosecution in his 1MDB trial to disclose banking documents linked to Zeti’s family on claims that her family allegedly received monies from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.
Najib filed the application on March 24 last year to compel the prosecution to provide several banking statements from companies, including Aktis Capital Singapore Pte Ltd, Country Group Securities Public Company Ltd, ACME Time Ltd (BVI), Butamba Investments Ltd, and Central Holdings Ltd, believed to be related to Jho Low and Zeti’s family in his 1MDB case.
Najib also filed a second application on April 7 last year seeking to obtain the confidential settlement agreement between the government and the Goldman Sachs Group in 2020 and transcripts or forensic reports on the phones of former Goldman Sachs partner in Asia, Tim Leissner.
Najib is on trial on 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 is ongoing in the High Court before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
The former Pekan Member of Parliament is serving a 12-year jail sentence at the Kajang Prison after the Federal Court upheld his conviction for misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds on August 23 this year.
Meanwhile, ad hoc prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told reporters that the prosecution will call another seven witnesses including Zeti to testify in the 1MDB trial before closing its case.