KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — As we end Day 17 of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, here’s a quick recap on the cheques issued from one of his personal bank accounts amounting to over RM7.2 million (or RM7,276,514) to 14 recipients between January and February 2015.
Najib is currently on trial over seven charges, including money laundering and criminal breach of trust of over RM42 million belonging to former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International.
At the start of Najib’s trial, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said evidence would establish that the cheques were issued for various purposes, including to political parties in the Barisan Nasional coalition and to pay for renovation works carried out at Najib’s two residences at Jalan Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur and Pekan, Pahang.
Malay Mail looks back at 14 cheques issued under Najib’s AmIslamic Bank account number 2022011-906 and what the cheques were used for, according to testimony given in court by the recipients.
Here’s what we know so far based on the testimony of the fifth prosecution witness, AmIslamic Bank cheque processing centre senior manager Badrul Hisham Mohamad:
1. RM240,000 to Vital Spire Sdn Bhd (cheque dated January 30, 2015)
The 16th prosecution witness (PW16), Onn Hafiz Ghazi revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office then under Najib had engaged his services, through his company Vital Spire Sdn Bhd to manage the now-defunct malaysiandigest.com news portal.
The news portal ceased operations and went offline in July 2018.
2. RM2.5 million to law firm Zulqarnain & Co (February 2, 2015)
Known Najib associate Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah (PW23) testified that the RM2.5 million cheque he personally received from Najib had been used to conduct political operations, particularly for intelligence gathering for the BN coalition.
Think subterfuge and espionage measures like you see in the movies (except now it’s for political purposes).
Habibul explained that the cheque was made out to the law firm instead of his personal account in order to avoid paying tax.
3. RM300,000 cheque issued to Centre for Strategic Engagement Sdn Bhd (cheque dated February 8, 2015)
Centre for Strategic Engagement Sdn Bhd director, Rita Sim (PW14) testified that the company received a total of RM300,000 in payment to monitor and analyse six major local Chinese newspapers to identify issues affecting the Chinese community.
The six Chinese newspapers monitored for two months were Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Kwong Wah Jit Poh, China Press, Guang Ming Daily and Oriental Daily; with Cense sending daily, weekly, monthly reports to the Prime Minister’s Office’s media office.
4. RM238,914 cheque issued to Lim Soon Peng (cheque dated February 12, 2015)
Najib’s former political secretary, Datuk Wong Nai Chee (PW17) testified that Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng was engaged by Najib as an intermediary to issue payments to two companies hired to monitor the general sentiment of the Chinese community online, one of it being the ‘Ah Jib Gor’ Chinese-language Facebook page for Najib when he was prime minister.
A check by Malay Mail showed that the ‘Ah Jib Gor’ page — which currently has about 9,100 Facebook “likes’’ — has not been updated since January 2019.
5. RM100,000 cheque to ABS Trend Master Sdn Bhd (cheque dated February 12, 2015)
ABS Trend Master owner, Zulkarnain Mohamad (PW6) testified that he received a RM100,000 cheque for the construction of an outdoor storeroom at Najib’s residence.
Zulkarnain said the storeroom contained a dry kitchen or pantry with cabinets, as well as two rows of clothes rack measuring about 12 feet each.
6. RM400,000 cheque to Trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak (cheque dated February 12, 2015)
The welfare home’s trustee, Abdul Munir Othman (PW11), said the cheque was addressed to the Trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Razak and that the RM400,000 contribution was used to fulfill the various needs of orphans at the welfare home.
Some of the RM400,000 were used for expenditures including accommodation, food, clothing, transportation and schooling for the orphans.
7. RM13,800 cheque to Manisah Othman, dated February 12, 2015
Statistician in the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Manisah Othman (PW12) said she had received the RM13,800 cheque for her children’s education as Najib had promised to look after them following the death of her husband, Amirudin Mohd Baria.
Manisah’s husband Amirudin had passed away in 2013 due to stage four colon cancer. Prior to his death, he worked as Najib’s private secretary during the latter’s tenure as Education Minister between 1995 and 2000.
8. RM50,000 cheque to Asmadi Abu Talib, dated February 12, 2015
Padang Serai Umno division chief, Datuk Asmadi Abu Talib (PW9) said the RM50,000 cheque was made to his personal account instead of the Umno division’s official account, adding that it was used to pay for division’s activities, including for religious activities, after-school classes for students, and to assist the sick and natural disaster victims.
9. RM1 million cheque to Upko, dated February 13, 2015
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) former treasurer-general, Datuk Marcus Mojigoh (PW15) testified that the cheque was issued by Najib for the Sabah-based party to conduct its corporate social responsibility project called Projek Sayang.
Previously a BN component party, it left the coalition after the latter’s defeat in last year’s general election.
10. RM1 million cheque to Solar Shine Sdn Bhd, dated February 17, 2015
Solar Shine owner Datuk Lew Choon Lai (PW22) said Najib gave his company a RM1 million cheque in 2015 to promote the now-defunct 1Malaysia campaign nationwide to the non-Malays.
Lew said his company mainly provided goodie bags containing daily necessities to be distributed to ethnic Indians in rural areas and elderly ethnic Chinese in residential areas, while promoting the 1Malaysia concept to them.
11. RM56,500 cheque to Moz (M) Sdn Bhd, dated February 24, 2015
Owner of specialist plumbing company Moz (M) Sdn Bhd, Mohammad Zakariyya Zearat Khan (PW7) said he was issued the cheque for water tank installation works at Najib’s house in Jalan Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur.
The new water tank was deemed necessary due to a water supply disruption there, according to Mohammad Zakariyya.
12. RM77,300 cheque to Syadilah Enterprise, dated February 24, 2015
Syadilah Enterprise’s sole proprietor Daud Muhammad (PW8) said that the cheque was issued for RM77,300 in works at Najib’s house in Pekan, including RM67,000 for two new water tank towers which he said was necessary.
The rest of the payment involved RM9,540 for wiring, air-conditioning servicing and roof repairs; and RM760 to repair and replace doorknobs and also for kitchen repairs — all at the Pekan residence.
13. RM1 million cheque to Badan Perhubungan Umno Negeri Pulau Pinang, dated February 26, 2015
Penang Umno executive secretary, Ahmad Sahar Shuib (PW13) said the RM1 million allocation was used for organising welfare programmes for the less fortunate, disaster relief funds, party branches allocations and party operations expenditures.
14. RM300,000 cheque to Umno Bahagian Johor Bahru, dated February 26, 2015
Johor Baru Umno division secretary Abu Talib Alias (PW10) said the cheque was issued for the purpose of “programme fundings for the political party”.
Abu Talib also became the first witness in the trial to address Najib with the latter’s now famous slogan, “Malu apa bossku”.
The RM42 million SRC International trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is expected to be heard until at least July 3, but can be further extended if necessary.
The trial now is at the prosecution stage where the prosecution has to prove that there is a prima facie case for Najib to answer. If the prosecution succeeds, Najib will be ordered to enter his defence and will be able to bring in his own witnesses.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had, however, already virtually announced his client’s defence as being an alleged victim of a purported “conspiracy” by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
Najib also has trial dates scheduled up to April next year for his other criminal cases, with the 1MDB trial set to commence in mid-August at the High Court following the conclusion of the SRC trial.