KUALA LUMPUR — Sept. 8,2020: Contrary to the argument by the defence yesterday, the prosecution made clear today that it didn’t see the written testimony of a former CEO as hearsay evidence.
According to prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the evidence by Mohd. Hazem Abdul Rahman, a former CEO of 1Malaysia Development Berhad, in fact falls under Section 32(1)(b) of the Evidence Act, a provision relied on by the prosecution.
He further asserted that the statement, made by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho alias Jho Low to Hazem was made in the ordinary course of business.
The provision states that statements, be it written or oral, on facts made by a person who is dead or cannot be produced before the court is deemed relevant.
“The defence had accepted the facts that Jho Low, Jasmine and Terence cannot be found and charges were brought against them in absentia.
“The investigation officer will testify later that there were attempts made to look for them but she could not find them,” Sri Ram said.
Low, former 1MDB general counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and executive director Terence Geh Choh Heng were charged in absentia two years ago for criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
In court now is former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who faces 25 charges of abuse of power and money laundering involving RM2.28 billion from 1MDB deposited in his AmBank accounts between early 2011 and end 2014.
Sri Ram also cited a Federal Court ruling in 2011 which decided that the statutory provision in the Evidence Act is to provide exceptions to the common law rule against the reception of hearsay evidence.
“If we cannot show that our case comes under Section 32(1)(b) of the Evidence Act, then we will concede. I give my word to counsel,” he said, referring to Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee responded to say that the defence will submit further on Section 32(1)(b) and had earlier contended that Hazem’s written testimony contained hearsay elements and thus should not be allowed as evidence.
The hearing continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.