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Three high-profile graft trials in Malaysia halted due to COVID-19

/ 05:08 PM March 17, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR — The shutdown of court premises starting Wednesday (March 18) following the government’s movement control order to curb Covid-19 would effectively halt three high-profile graft cases.

These include the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial, which is supposed to resume this month.

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The 1MDB trial involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should have resumed this Thursday (March 19) after taking a break to make way for the recently concluded SRC International Sdn Bhd.

The graft trial of Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was also supposed to resume on March 23.

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Meanwhile, the graft trial of former Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was scheduled on March 25.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib (1MDB case), Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran (Zahid’s case) and Julia Ibrahim (Tengku Adnan’s case) confirmed their respective cases have been postponed.

“After the court is re-open, the court will give the new dates, ” DPP Julia said when contacted on Tuesday (March 17).

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a nationwide movement control order from March 18 to March 31 to help curb the outbreak.

The order, which is the first in the country’s history, affects non-essential services which includes court operations.

In another development, lead prosecutor in the 1MDB trial, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram has tested negative for Covid-19.

“I have been cleared. Perfectly fine, ” he told the press.

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The 76-year-old former Federal Court judge had taken the Covid-19 test after being in contact with two patients-under-investigation (PUIs).

Lead defence counsel for Najib, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, had also been cleared of Covid-19 after being in contact with his sister-in-law, who was a PUI.

Najib, 67, faces four charges of abusing his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

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TAGS: Asia, Coronavirus, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, Graft and Corruption, Judiciary, Malaysia, Politics
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