In SRC trial, Najib suspects signatures on documents forged, insists need expert to verify

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex December 18, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex December 18, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak drew derision in the High Court today when he refused to verify if the signatures on documents tendered in his SRC International Sdn Bhd trial were his, insisting that a handwriting expert be called to establish authenticity.

The former prime minister is charged with siphoning RM42 million from the former 1MDB subsidiary and is testifying in his own defence under cross-examination from ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram.

Najib insisted that he needed a handwriting expert to verify his own signature from a forged one on documents tendered during the trial after he was referred to a question in his witness statement by Sithambaram.

Sithambaram: You agree with me when you find out your signature is forged in any documents, you will lodge a police report?

Najib: I only found out during the trial that there is a possibility that it was forged. I’m waiting for the expert to come to examine my signature.

Sithambaram: That’s not my question. Would you make a police report?

Najib: When it is confirmed only I will make a police report.

Sithambaram: If I understand correctly, you’re still not sure they were forged?

Najib: I am pretty sure they are forged but I still need to call an expert to verify.

Sithambaram: I find it funny that when you see the signature you don't know if it’s forged and you need somebody to determine for you.

Sithambaram then chided Najib about the documents which the accused claimed were forgeries of his signatures, prompting laughter from the court.

Sithambaram: How can you not identify your own signature? You’re relying on the expert? If you can’t identify it, you expect the expert to verify it?

To this, Najib maintained that he was not sure if the documents in question bore his signature.

Sithambaram raised his voice at Najib at one point after the latter refused to directly answer the question asked on the authenticity of the signatures.

Sithambaram: You agree with me, that when you were shown photocopies of the documents when MACC took your statement, you confirm those were your signatures, yes or no?

Najib: It looked as if it was my signature at that time.

Sithambaram: But did not tell the recording officer it may not be your signature? Yes or no?

Najib: Because I saw at that time as if it was my signature.

Sithambaram (voice raised): My question is crystal clear. When you were shown the documents, did you confirm without any reservation at that stage?

Najib: At that stage, yes.

Sithambaram later suggested to Najib that the latter's attempt to bring in a document expert was really aimed at bolstering the untruthful evidence of a forgery, which Najib disagreed.

Najib later conceded that he was shown photocopied documents bearing his signatures by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) during the investigation, which he confirmed was his but maintained he had “reservations” and “doubts” at that time.

Najib: It was shown but I was not shown the original. At that time we haven't come to the point it was forged.

Sithambaram: Based on the photocopies shown to you, did you say you did not sign?

Najib: I said I had my doubts.

Sithambaram: But did you said forgery? Im putting it you never said you had your doubts but the forgery issue only came about in the defence stage.

Najib: I disagree.

Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

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