Najib’s 1MDB trial postponed to Feb 2 due to Sri Ram’s sudden death

KUALA LUMPUR: It was a sombre proceeding at the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial on Monday (Jan 30) following the death of lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was described by his team member as “a father figure”.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib asked High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah for the proceedings to be adjourned on Monday and Tuesday (Jan 31) in light of Sri Ram’s sudden demise.

He said Sri Ram’s wake and cremation ceremony would be held on Tuesday.

“All of us in the prosecution team are seeking your permission to vacate the matter today and tomorrow to allow us to attend both functions (Sri Ram’s wake and cremation).

“He was our boss, our team leader and he was like a father to all of us,” said the distraught prosecutor here on Monday.

Monday was set for a continued hearing where prosecution witness Joanna Yu, who was Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former relationship manager at AmBank, was supposed to take the stand.

“We (also) humbly seek your lordship’s indulgence for an adjournment on the basis that the prosecution team would have to discuss the purpose of redistribution of the various focus of works vis-a-vis the witnesses,” DPP Ahmad Akram said.

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the court that the defence has no objection to the adjournment.

“I would absolutely have no objection whatsoever,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee also extended his condolences to the prosecution team.

Justice Sequerah then allowed the adjournment.

“This trial will resume on Thursday (Feb 2) with the continued cross-examination of Yu,” he said.

Najib, 70, is on trial for 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.