KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 20): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial over his alleged abuse of power and money laundering of RM2.28 billion ($755.3 million) in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds has been postponed to Monday.

Appointed prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told High Court Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the trial could not begin yesterday as the prosecution in Najib’s ongoing SRC International Sdn Bhd has not completed making its case yet.

In the SRC trial, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigating officer and senior assistant commissioner, Rosli Hussain, has yet to conclude his testimony.

This follows a three-day pause of the trial as Najib was given medical leave to recover from his bout of conjunctivitis.

Sri Ram also said there are 12 other witness statements which the prosecution team could only make available by Friday.

Justice Sequerah then fixed Thursday for case management and for the trial to begin on Monday.

Nonetheless, defence lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah requested that the trial be postponed until Sept 3, as the prosecution is handing over to the defence 15 more volumes of documents, which Muhammad Shafee said his team may require some time to go through.

Justice Sequerah then suggested that the prosecution could make available some formal witnesses when the trial begins on Monday, while Sri Ram could read out the opening statement yesterday.

However, Sri Ram said the opening statement is not ready yet, and that some witnesses may have to wait until their statements are ready before appearing in court.

Justice Sequerah then ordered that the trial to begin on Monday, when the prosecution should be prepared and that the opening statement will be ready while some formal witnesses will make oral statements.

Goldman Sachs is also holding a watching brief in the trial and was represented by lawyer Chethan Jethwani in yesterday’s proceedings.

The 1MDB-Tanore case is expected to call more than 60 witnesses, including foreign citizens.

Defence will not appeal Aug 26 start of trial

Separately, Muhammad Shafee said the defence will not appeal the High Court’s decision to start the 1MDB-Tanore trial of Najib on Monday despite his earlier request that the trial be adjourned to Sept 3, or 14 days from the submission of court documents, which was officially done yesterday.

“No, we have already appealed [previously]. We have gone to the Federal Court. For us to go again, we do not want to sound as though we are not reasonable [towards the court system]. We are trying to accommodate the system,” said Muhammad Shafee.

“But the Federal Court has said that [we can] appeal to the sensible and reasonable [nature] of the judge to be able to understand that the defence team is doing two cases at the moment almost simultaneously,” he added.

Muhammad Shafee, however, maintained that the appropriate time for the trial to start should be 14 days from the date of submission of documents.

The court, he said, received 12 witness statements and 15 volumes of documents pertaining to the trial after office hours last Friday.

“You add 14 days excluding the public holidays ... a reasonable period should be on [Sept 3] to commence the trial. I thought it is a reasonable request by the prosecution for us to read the witness statements ... Some are 200 pages [long].

“The law says to give at least 14 days before the trial [although] the law is based on reasonableness,” he said.

“I thought starting a trial without a witness statement could delay the trial a lot more,” he added.