KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak was well aware of the financial situation and balances of his bank accounts, which can be proven through evidence that shows how the former prime minister had spent all of the RM42 million he is accused of misappropriating in 2014 and 2015, prosecutors asserted today.
In the final submissions of Najib’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram moved to strike out the case presented by Najib’s lawyers during their submission when they argued that the former prime minister should escape conviction as the transactions concerning his bank accounts were handled by authorised signatories.
This, as previously stated by the defence, would have left Najib in the dark over the source of the monies that made its way into his bank account having surrendered the operations of his account to the authorised persons.
Sithambaram today rebutted by saying Najib was in constant contact with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, his then principal private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias, and his account’s mandate holder Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who had all kept him abreast of his financial situation.
“Did he (Najib) know or did he turn a blind eye? Ordinarily, even if a multi-millionaire suddenly received RM42 million into his bank account, he would know,” said Sithambaram.
Another point highlighted by Sithambaram was how Najib should be held accountable for spending the RM42 million as he did according to evidence tendered, arguing that his lawyer’s reasoning that Najib thought he was spending proceeds from Arab donations is not justified.
Sithambaram pointed out how the Arab donations had all taken place from 2011 to 2013, with the subject of this trial’s charges involving funds that made its way into his account over the period of December 2014 to February 2015.
He added that the defence’s argument that Najib was of the notion that the money he was spending was proceeds from the donation purely based on the representation he received from Low was also unsubstantiated considering how Najib could have cleared any doubts with either Nik Faisal and Azlin.
“If in 2011, 2012, 2013 he thought he had billions in his bank account, then I can agree.
“But by June 2014, right before the RM42 million came in, all the money was completely used up.
“How is Datuk Seri Najib thinking this is an Arab donation in any way relevant. It cannot be a state of mind because he returned it and spent all.
“The other monies were deposited by Jho Low, and the moment it came in, he (Najib) used it up,” said Sithambaram.
On the topic of whether Najib was aware that funds which were deposited into his account were the result of Low’s efforts, Sithambaram argued that the former prime minister was indeed aware of Low’s role in bankrolling him, as opposed to the stance taken by the defence claiming he had been duped by Low.
“To the contrary, Jho Low attempted to ensure the accused’s account had sufficient funds before the accused even issued his cheques or concurrently to the accused’s issuance of his cheques.
“The evidence that Jho Low was taking proactive steps before the issuance of the accused’s cheques is clearly shown when the accused and Jho Low were in direct communication and when Datuk Azlin communicated with Jho Low on behalf of the accused to ensure the cheques were not dishonoured,” he submitted today.
“This action of Jho Low with regard to the accused’s accounts was not always reactionary but visionary too,” he added.
Sithambaram added how Najib had agreed during cross-examination, when presented with chat logs between Low and his bank account relationship manager Joanna Yu, that Low was the one who was constantly checking on the status of his accounts and carried out the tasks assigned to him by Najib, to ensure sufficient funds within his bank account.
Of the seven charges he was asked to enter his defence, Najib is accused of committing three counts of 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, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.