SRC Trial: Prosecution insists Najib chose wilful blindness by not inquiring source of RM42m deposited into his accounts

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 3, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court June 3, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak “deliberately” chose to not inquire the source of the RM42 million that was allegedly deposited in his bank accounts, the prosecution told the High Court during Najib’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial today.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram argued that throughout the hearing, Najib did not deny knowledge of funds entering his accounts instead claiming that it was Arab donation, despite the fact that the said donations had almost dried up due to the numerous cheques issued.

He said evidence has shown that Najib continued to spend without any care even after claiming to have no knowledge of the exact amount of Arab donations entering his accounts.

Since Najib had exhausted the Arab money and returned a portion of it which he received in his bank accounts later, Sithambaram questioned how could Najib assume there was still money in his accounts and issued more cheques without being suspicious of the funds in his accounts.

“The circumstances paint the clearest picture that the accused must have reasonably suspected the source of the funds but deliberately chose not to inquire about it.

“Instead, the accused has claimed utter ignorance and shoved the responsibility to other persons who are either missing, wanted or dead.

“It can be inferred that not only did the accused know the account balance but he also knew that the account would be credited with funds including SRC funds as the accounts were being ‘bank-rolled’ as the task was assigned to Jho Low, Nik Faisal and Datuk Azlin by the accused,” he said in his oral submission at the close of the defence case before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Sithambaram was earlier submitting on the defence’s reply in regards to the three money-laundering charges Najib is currently charged within the case.

Drawing an inference from evidence established in court, Sithambaram said Najib himself had admitted that he tasked three individuals — former principle private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias, SRC International former chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low — to ensure funds were readily available in his bank accounts for him to spend.

“The accused, being the bank account holder, must be vigilant and cautious of funds entering his personal bank accounts that he ultimately expended fully.

“Najib cannot just direct other persons to ensure funds are well-replenished in his bank accounts for him to spend without caring about the source of the funds,” he said, adding that Najib’s instruction to both Low and Azlin to ensure funds are ever-present without checking the source of RM42 million is considered wilful blindness.

Earlier, Sithambaram also told the court that Najib had based his expenditures on the confirmation provided by Azlin who would tell him if he was able to issue a cheque.

“The fact that the accused is only relying on the confirmation given to him on the purported available funds by Azlin will not absolve the accused from his duty to inquire the source of the funds entering his accounts,” he said.

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.

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