KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): Former Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) and later 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (pictured) is expected to take the witness stand at the High Court today in the 1MDB-Tanore trial involving former Prime Minster Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Besides Najib’s former aide Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazarrudin, Shahrol Azral is one of the prosecution’s key witnesses in the corruption case against the sixth premier.
However, Amhari, who finished testifying last Thursday, may return this morning if the prosecution has not finished his re-examination.
Amhari, when questioned by senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, maintained that he was not in a position to influence Najib in all 1MDB dealings, especially in its proposed rationalisation of debts, as suggested by defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
He also described all the threats he faced while testifying in the trial and how he was an unwilling middleman in the whole affair as he was told by his boss to go to Abu Dhabi and China to negotiate with parties there about resolving 1MDB’s debts using missing businessman Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) talking points.
After each trip, Najib reimbursed Amhari with tens of thousands of ringgit in cash at the former’s residence.
With regard to Shahrol, who would be the prosecution's ninth witness, he is expected to testify on Najib's close relationship with Jho Low, the formation of TIA – which later became 1MDB – and 1MDB, and also about Article 117 inserted in TIA's Articles of Association giving Najib huge powers as the chairman of the board of advisors in 1MDB.
The proceedings may start late as both the prosecution and defence will be at Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali's court for the application to transfer Riza Aziz's case to the High Court.
Riza, who is Najib's stepson, has been slapped with five charges of money laundering amounting to US$248 million (RM1.25 billion) that were allegedly taken from 1MDB.
Meanwhile, the former premier himself faces 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power involving billions of ringgit that were also purportedly sourced from the troubled sovereign wealth fund.
The trial continues today before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, and will be reported by The Edge live.