Najib’s trial: Highlights on Aug 19-23, prosecution to close case on Tuesday

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 23, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 23, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Towards the end of the prosecution’s case in regard to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, it was disclosed that the accused, not fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low benefited from the misappropriation of SRC’s funds.

The High Court was also told that SRC former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil in his statements recorded by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)  never said the former prime minister was not involved in SRC’s case.

MACC Special Operations Division senior assistant commissioner Rosli Husain testified that RM642 million in funds from the Saudi Arabia Finance Ministry and Prince Faisal Turki were transferred into a personal bank account belonging to Najib.

Following are brief recaps of the evidence adduced by the prosecution’s last witness before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on August 19 to August 23:

DAY 54 (August 19):

Rosli who was the investigation officer (IO) in the case said Najib admitted that all the signatures on the documents relating to his three personal current accounts at AmIslamic Bank Berhad were his.

The documents were bank account opening forms, money transfer instruction letter and credit card-related forms.

To a question by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim, the 57th prosecution witness said he asked Najib whether all the signatures were his when MACC recorded his statements on three occasions.

“The first statement was on Dec 5, 2015, the second, on May 22, 2018 and the third, on May 24, 2018. All these documents were referred to Najib and he confirmed all the signatures were his and he did not deny anything.”

DAY 55 (August 20):

Rosli testified that MACC had never questioned the founder and writer of Sarawak Report Clare Rewcastle Brown regarding an article entitled ‘Najib Razak’s Personal Accounts Linked To 1MDB Money Trail Malaysia Exclusive’ published in 2015.

The witness said throughout his handling of the SRC case, he had never met Rewcastle Brown or directed any officer to meet her.

“I also did not investigate how she could release the article on July 2, 2015,” he said during cross-examination by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

He said the investigation into SRC was based on a report obtained from MACC Accounting Forensics Division assistant commissioner Prem Raj dated July 6, 2015.

He said the investigation papers on SRC were submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s office on Dec 31, 2015 and was again submitted to the same office on June 12, 2018 and a total of 193 witnesses were called to give their statements during the investigations.

The witness said Jho Low denied conversing via Blackberry Messenger (BBM) with former AmBank relationship manager, Joanna Yu Ging Ping who was handling Najib’s accounts bank.

Jho Low made the denial when shown a transcript of the BBM conversation when MACC recorded his statements in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Nov 27, 2015, Rosli said.

The BBM conversations between Yu and Jho Low were related to entry and withdrawal transactions from the former prime minister’s bank accounts.

Rosli said his officers took statements from former Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz in 2018 after Najib was charged (for SRC case) in July 2018.

DAY 56 (August 22):

The IO confirmed that RM642 million in funds from the Saudi Arabia Finance Ministry and Prince Faisal Turki were transferred into a personal bank account, ending with the numbers 694 belonging to Najib.

Harvinderjit: Can you confirm that in the said account, there was money deposited from Prince Faisal bin Turki? 

Rosli: Yes. 

Harvinderjit: The amount was about RM399 million?

Rosli:Yes, roughly.

Harvinderjit: Was there a deposit of RM243 million made by the Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) Finance Ministry? 

Rosli: There was.

The witness also affirmed that Najib not Jho Low had an interest in the misappropriation SRC’s funds.

Harvinderjit: Overall, the misappropriation of SRC funds is by Jho Low and his allies?

Rosli: I don’t agree.

Harvinderjit: Generally, based on the transcript of the Black Berry Message (BBM) , I suggest Datuk Seri Najib was not involved in any withdrawals of funds from SRC?

Rosli: Jho Low has no interest in this case, only Najib has interest.

The IO said the Red Notice issued by Interpol against Jho Low and Nik Faisal was for alleged criminal breach of trust (CBT) and misappropriation of SRC funds.

Rosli concurred with Harvinderjit that prior to the issuance of the Red Notice, a warrant of arrest was issued by the Kuala Lumpur High Court against Nik Faisal for CBT involving SRC’s assets.

He said the content of the Red Notice issued against Nik Faisal was similar with the Red Notice issued against Jho Low which stated that it was for (alleged) involvement in CBT and misappropriation of SRC funds.

Harvinderjit: Apart from that, images that were sent to several countries also stated Jho Low and Nik Faisal as suspects in embezzlement of SRC funds?

Rosli: Yes.

DAY 57 (August 23):

Rosli said Najib was linked to the SRC case by Nik Faisal during the recording of his statement by the MACC on Oct 17, 2015 and then in late October of the same year in Jakarta, Indonesia.

To a question by Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah the witness said Nik Faisal never said in his statements that Najib was not involved.  

Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that Nik Faisal did not implicate Datuk Seri Najib in both his statements.

Rosli: Disagree.

Questioned by another lawyer Farhan Read, Rosli said Najib Razak claimed he spent RM3.3 million on gifts for the wife of the former prime minister of Qatar in 2014.

Farhan:  Datuk Seri Najib, in his statement to MACC said the purchase of jewellery items at De Grisogono, Italy, using his credit cards, was for gifts to foreign leaders?

Rosli: That was what he (Najib) claimed.

De Grisogono is a Swiss luxury jewellery boutique set up in Geneva, Switzerland in 1993 by an Italian black diamond expert from Lebanon, Fawaz Gruosi.

The senior officer also said he did not probe a claim by Najib on his meeting with the Saudi Arabian King and about receiving donations from the Saudi Arabian royal family’s relatives through his personal accounts as it was not related to the SRC case.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC funds amounting to RM42 million.

The prosecution will close its case on Tuesday. — Bernama