KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak concluded his testimony as the first defence witness today by once again painting fugitive financier Low Taek Jho as the actual villain who gained from the alleged wrongdoings.
Answering lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during re-examination, Najib claimed that evidence tendered in court showed that it was Low who gained from the large sums of money being moved through various companies’ accounts, some of which ended up in the former prime minister’s personal bank account.
Najib claimed that Low had portrayed himself as a big player in the financial circuit and went on to allege that Low, also known as Jho Low, did all of this to maintain his opulent and lavish lifestyle.
“As you would know he was living an opulent and lavish lifestyle with his infamous parties, which I was never invited to, of which I don’t want to be a part of.
“He made a point and wanted to be called the best and to advertise himself as a big player.
“And subsequently with the revelations, it showed that he benefited, and it showed in his lifestyle and the acquisitions that he made that he had benefited,” he said.
Najib then rubbished notions that he was behind the siphoning of the funds from the former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary, calling such suggestions preposterous.
He said evidence showed the alleged gratification was received by him some three years after the apparent agreement to secure two government guarantees for SRC International to obtain loans was made, the timing of which he said made no sense.
“It never, never happened. And to suggest that as PM I would have indulged in something like that is preposterous, and as I have said, I cannot be so stupid to be a moron to ask for that kind of gratification and put it in my personal account because it’s so easy to be discovered.
“If you think about it, the normal practice, when people ask for gratification, they wouldn’t want to wait three years for it to happen.
“Three years is a long, long time, so you wouldn’t take gratification and say let’s wait for three years to receive it,” he quipped.
Najib, who first took the stand on December 3 last year, then claimed it was Low who has been running other similar financial scams to ensure a healthy balance within the former prime minister’s bank account, to make sure he enjoyed the trust of Najib and avoid suspicion.
The Pekan MP, testifying as the first defence witness in his RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial, then said he believed the sum of cash that is the subject matter of today’s trial was used as bait to maintain the trust he had in Low’s capabilities and connections.
Najib, who had previously told the court of Low’s close ties with the Saudi royal family, again testified how it was the fugitive financier who arranged donations of around RM2.6 billion from the royal family.
“I think he must have thought that if he did not continue to make sure donations flowed into my account it would affect his relationship with me and lead me to uncover his scams.
“He needed to ensure I had confidence and faith in him, so the RM42 million is minuscule compared to what he was making; he saw it as an investment, as a pay, so that he can continue and benefit from other activities he was doing.
“If he did not keep up with the donations and then I could be suspicious of what he was doing and he was afraid that I could question him, that would mean whatever he was doing would be discovered, or at the very least I don’t use him and he wouldn’t benefit from the relationship,” he said.
Najib explained that the seed of doubt over the legitimacy of Low’s dealings was planted in him when he had his statement recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) back in 2015.
“I began to realise that much later and had my doubts around the time when I first gave evidence to MACC, and of course later on when the whole thing became an international issue... then I realised he did a lot of things I didn’t know about,” he told the court.
Najib is on trial over seven charges related to SRC International.
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.