SRC trial: 'Improper' for Najib to purchase Chanel watch with Saudi donation, says Anifah

Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on February 13, 2020. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on February 13, 2020. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 ― Former minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said it was “improper” for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to purchase a luxury watch worth half a million ringgit using financial aid provided by then Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the High Court was told today.

During cross-examination, ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram had asked Anifah to clarify parts of his witness statement in which Anifah had stated it was understood that King Abdullah did not want his contribution of money to be vaguely disbursed and pose problems in their disbursement.

Anifah: To my understanding, that (disbursement) it must be done accordingly, by what is right.

Sithambaram then posed a question to Anifah whether it was proper for Najib to purchase a Chanel watch for his wife, which evidence tendered in court has shown.

The question caught Anifah off-guard, to which he said he was “shocked” at the question and asked for it to be repeated a second time, to which Sithambaram obliged.

Sithambaram: If buying a Chanel watch for half a million for Datuk Seri's (Najib) wife, would that be proper usage?

Anifah: Of course not.

Anifah was testifying at the High Court as the sixth defence witness in Najib’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial.

Najib previously testified that a US$130,625 (RM466,330) purchase he made at a Chanel store in Honolulu in the US state of Hawaii in December 2014 was a birthday present for his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Najib also testified that he bought the watch to appease his family who were unhappy their vacation to Hawaii was cut short as he had to return to Malaysia early due to massive floods in Kelantan during the annual monsoon season that same month.

Still under cross-examination by Sithambaram, Anifah disagreed with the lawyer's suggestion that all evidence relating to the financial donation by King Abdullah was wholly untrue.

Sithambaram: I am putting it to you that all the evidence relating to the financial donation of King Abdullah is wholly untrue.

Anifah: Disagree.

Statement: Did you, based on the witness statement, know the amount of donation that was released by King Abdullah?

Anifah: I do not know.

Sithambaram: Did you know at that stage where was the source of funds that was to come into Datuk Seri's (Najib) accounts?

Anifah: I do not know.

Anifah also said he had no knowledge of the source of the donations and when they were sent to Najib's private account.

He also affirmed that the Cabinet at that time was not alerted to the donation as it was a personal donation to Najib.

Later during re-examination by Najib's lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Anifah said it was not the business of the Cabinet to know donations of political funds.

Najib is on trial over 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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