Former Malaysian PM Razaq’s trial postponed to Aug. 26


by Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde

 A judge, on Monday, postponed a trial involving former Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, in connection with state development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to Aug. 26.

This is the largest trial yet linked to the billion-dollar scandal.

Razak was set to stand trial for 21 charges of money laundering and four charges of abuse of power over allegations that he misappropriated $551 million (2.3 billion Malaysian ringgit) from the scandal-plagued fund.

1MDB is the subject of an international corruption probe spanning countries including Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland over suspicions that $4.5 billion of public money had been misappropriated by high-ranking Malaysian officials.

The misappropriation of the fund also include the former premier, his closest aides and family members.

High Court Judge, Collin Sequerah, on Monday adjourned the trial to Aug. 26 after allowing a postponement application by the public prosecutor, as the latter had just served 15 bundles of documents and witness statements to the defence.

The lead prosecutor also said the application would allow enough time for a preceding trial to be wrap up, first before allowing a second one to begin, local media New Straits Times, reported.

Razak has been on trial since April in a second case involving seven charges of corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust for allegedly transferring $10 million from SRC International, a now-defunct subsidiary of 1MDB, to his personal bank account.

SRC International is a now-defunct subsidiary of 1MDB.

Widespread public anger over the unfettered abuse of public money was instrumental in Razaq’s ouster from the government, when a shock defeat of his Barisan National Party, in the 2018 general elections, allowed opposition party Pakatan Harapan, to sweep into power for the first time.

The new government, led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, relaunched investigations into the scandal, which had been previously muzzled during the Razaq years.

Police raids on Razaq’s private residences yielded an estimated $300 million worth of foreign currency, luxury goods and expensive jewellery suspected to have been purchased with the stolen funds. (dpa/NAN)