Prosecutor, Najib’s lawyers tangle over questioning tactics on Day Four of SRC trial

Azizul was being re-examined today after having testified yesterday that he led a BNM team to raid the Ambank branch in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015, to retrieve details about the accounts owned by Najib, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Azizul was being re-examined today after having testified yesterday that he led a BNM team to raid the Ambank branch in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015, to retrieve details about the accounts owned by Najib, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — The prosecution and defence engaged briefly in a heated exchange over the former’s examination methods during today’s hearing of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial over RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd at the High Court here.

During the re-examination of the second prosecution witness, Bank Negara Malaysia investigation officer Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh accused the prosecution of “coaching” the central bank officer and objected.

Harvinderjit further said the prosecution should limit its re-examination to matters raised during the initial cross-examination and told the deputy public prosecutor to refer to the witness’s previous answers prior to asking questions today.

“This is re-examination... perhaps my learned friend should refer to question and answer,” he said.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas then rose to tell High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the defence should not dictate how the prosecution examines the witness.

“We listened to five hours of cross-examination. We gave him (Harvinderjit) leeway... can there be some leeway (for the prosecution)?

“The style of examination differs from each lawyer,” the AG said.

Ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram backed Thomas on the matter by pointing out that their side did not challenge the defence team’s examination methods yesterday that he called aggressive.

Azizul was being re-examined today after having testified yesterday that he led a BNM team to raid the Ambank branch in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015, to retrieve details about the accounts owned by Najib, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.

The defence asked him yesterday to produce the police report he lodged after conducting the raid on Ambank branch.

Defence accuses Azizul of lying

Yesterday, Azizul testified that he received three batches of documents from Ambank Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi after conducting a raid under Part IV of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA).

He explained that the first batch of documents were obtained at 11am, followed a second at 9.15pm and the last at 9.30pm.

He also testified that he lodged a report at the Tun HS Lee police station at 10.04pm immediately after the raid ended to facilitate investigations under Section 4, Section 14 and Section 18 of the AMLATFPUAA based on the documents seized.

Harvinderjit then suggested that Azizul lied, saying it was not possible for the BNM officer to have classified the investigation under Section 4 after reviewing the documents for only 34 minutes after receiving them if he had not been briefed by the investigation officer to conduct investigation under that part of the law.

The lawyer also pointed out that Section 4 falls under Part II of the Act and not under Part IV.

Harvinderjit: You did not call the investigation officer (Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin). As a raiding officer, you formed your own opinion that an offence was made.

Azizul:  I cannot remember how the decision was made.

Harvinder: Come on, tuan. You have been an IO (investigation officer) for seven years. It is remarkable that, as a raiding officer, you made your own assumption that another offence was made when the raid had no briefing (on the transactions). I am suggesting that you are not telling the truth. Are you trying to hide something here?

Azizul: No.

Harvinderjit: Come on, you have got to be real, you are not being very honest.

Azizul: I disagree.

Harvinderjit: Did you receive briefing from any quarters to attend this hearing and not be truthful?

Azizul: No.

Later during the re-examination by the prosecution, Azizul explained that he classified the investigation based on his interpretation of the second batch of documents received, which showed information of account holders and “large transfers of money”.

Azizul also explained that he dd not list all the documents in eight folders from the first batch of seized documents due to the limited time and the huge amount of documents.

“So I only recorded the documents that were arranged at the topmost,” he said.