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No one flagged concerns about Najib's personal interest in 1MDB during cabinet meetings, court told

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 11): No one flagged any concerns about former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's (pictured) personal interest in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) during cabinet meetings involving the strategic investment fund, former deputy chief secretary to the Cabinet Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid told the court today.

Mazidah told the court this when she was being cross-examined by Najib's defence lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, in response to questions about cabinet ministers' code of conduct, and how conflict of interests are dealt with when it comes to matters raised in cabinet meetings.

Mazidah is the 11th prosecution witness to take the stand in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, in which Najib has been charged with four counts of power abuse to enrich himself with RM2.3 billion from 1MDB, and 21 counts of laundering the same amount. He faces up to 20 years' imprisonment if convicted.

Mazidah took the stand after the 10th prosecution witness, 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, was told to undergo a Covid-19 swab test yesterday after reporting that he had a fever. 

Today, deputy public prosecutor Akram Gharib told the presiding judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that Hazem has tested negative and will be available to take the stand again on Monday.

Meanwhile, Mazidah told the court that if a minister has a conflict of interest with regards to a matter being discussed in the cabinet meeting, the minister has to declare his interest and leave the meeting.

Mazidah claimed that no one flagged any conflict of interest issues during the cabinet meetings when Najib was present and 1MDB was discussed.

Shafee: There have been situations where minister’s among themselves have reminded each other of their conflict of interest.

Mazidah: We also would alert the minister involved because at the secretariat level we would know.

Shafee: Has anybody ever raised this with Najib when it came to 1MDB.

Mazidah: No.

Shafee: Has there been anyone who said this can produce a conflict of interest or raised the matter in cabinet?

Mazidah: Not to my knowledge, no.

Akram, during his subsequent re-examination of the witness, asked if she knew that Najib had any personal interest in 1MDB.

Akram: In the code of ethics it states that when a minister has conflict of interest he has to declare it. Would you know he had conflict of interest or personal interest in 1MDB.

Mazidah: I wouldn’t know.

Akram: Would you know if he personally received money from 1MDB?

Mazidah: I wouldn’t know.

Mazidah was then released from the witness stand by Justice Sequerah, with hearing slated to continue on Monday at 10am.

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