Najib’s trial continues tomorrow with defence to cross-examine first witness

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya April 10, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya April 10, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — The trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s case involving RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds will continue tomorrow with his defence team to cross-examine the first witness.

On April 3, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set April 15 until May 10 to continue the trial of Najib, who is Pekan Member of Parliament.

The high profile trial would continue with counsel Harvinderjit Singh representing Najib to cross-examine the first witness, Muhammad Akmaludin Abdullah, 35,  assistant registrar of Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

On the first day of trial, Muhammad Akmaludin told the court that SRC International Sdn Bhd, had a paid capital of RM1 million when it registered with the SSM on January 7, 2011, and checks on the shareholders also found that all one million shares were held by the Finance Ministry (Incorporated).

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International  Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

He is alleged to have committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between August 17, 2011, and February 10, 2015.

Najib, who is the sixth prime minister of Malaysia, is the first to find himself in the accused dock.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas in his opening statement on the first day of trial, among others, said the prosecution will prove that Najib had used his position as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to obtain for himself a gratification of RM42 million.

“It is my duty and privilege of opening the first trial in our courts against a former prime minister who, for nearly a decade, occupied the most powerful office in the land and wielded near absolute power.

“Such privilege carries with it enormous responsibility, which my office intends to discharge in order to establish that the accused is guilty of the seven charges that he is facing before your lordship.

“The accused during his entire period in office as Prime Minister of which time these offences were committed simultaneously held the office of Minister of Finance, thereby combining maximum political power and control of the nation’s purse,” he said.

Thomas also said “the operation of Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution that ‘all persons are equal before the law’ is amply demonstrated by this trial”.

“A former Prime Minister is charged under due process in the ordinary court of the land, like any other accused. The accused is not above the law and his prosecution and this trial should serve as precedents for all future holders of this august office,” he said.

Following are among others key ingredients in the prosecution’s opening statement read out by Thomas.

The prosecution will abundantly establish that the accused was directly involved in the decision on behalf of the Government of Malaysia to give government guarantees for the loans amounting to RM4 billion received by SRC International Sdn Bhd from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (“KWAP”).

The evidence will also establish that in December 2014, the accused’s credit card was charged US$130,625 (RM537,456) for expenses made at Chanel, an exclusive fashion store in Honolulu.

The prosecution will prove that personal cheques were issued, among others, as payment for renovation works carried out at the accused’s residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur, the accused’s residence in Pekan, Pahang as well as cheques were issued to various Barisan Nasional component political parties.

In proving the ingredients on the charge of abusing his position, evidence, both oral, documentary and circumstantial would be led by the prosecution to establish the proposed establishment of SRC International Sdn Bhd, the proposed setting-up of a RM3 billion grant, SRC International’s request for a government loan for RM3.95 billion, appointments of SRC International’s Board of Directors, and one Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as CEO of SRC International.

The prosecution will also establish on matters that led to the approval of the Malaysian government, through the Ministry of Finance, the issuance of a RM2 billion government guarantee in favour of SRC International and for the issuance of a further RM2 billion government guarantee in favour of the company (SRC International).

The evidence will also be led regarding monies totalling RM42 million, sourced from SRC International, were channelled through the company accounts of Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of SRC International Sdn Bhd) and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (purportedly appointed as SRC International’s corporate social responsibility partner).

For the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges, the prosecution will establish that Najib, as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and Advisor Emeritus of SRC International, whilst entrusted with monies belonging to SRC International, committed CBT in respect of the RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million belonging to SRC International.

The prosecution will also provide evidence that Najib had engaged in money laundering by receiving RM42 million, being the proceeds of unlawful activity, in his AmPrivate Banking account.

The evidence would also be led that Najib had issued 15 cheques from his bank account totalling RM10,776,514.00. — Bernama

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