RM42m transfer from SRC was misappropriation by Najib as he was sole benefactor, appellate court told

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya April 12, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya April 12, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, April 19 — Evidence adduced in court clearly showed the movement of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd was an act of dishonest misappropriation Datuk Seri Najib Razak personally induced and for which he was the sole benefactor, the Court of Appeal heard today.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said this during rebuttal to Najib’s appeal hearing against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriating RM42 million belonging to the former 1MDB subsidiary.

Sithambaram further argued there was no reason for SRC International to transfer the sum to two intermediaries — Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (GMSB) and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) — before they entered Najib’s accounts other than as layering process indicative of a clandestine bid to avoid detection.

He said it was consequently obvious that the transfers through the transit accounts were conducted for the benefit of Najib by Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the former chief executive of both SRC and GMSB.

Apart from being the mandated signatories of SRC International and GMSB, Nik Faisal was also the mandate holder appointed by Najib as the “authorised personnel” for all of Najib’s personal bank accounts at AmBank.

“Had the movement of the RM42 million been innocent or for commercial or business motivations, then there would have been no need for the accounts of GMSB and IPSB to be used.

“This usage of transit accounts serve only to camouflage the origins of the money and to avoid detection of the movement of funds into the appellant’s accounts.

“It was done to conceal the undeniable fact that funds belonging to SRC were credited into the personal accounts of the appellant.

“That itself constitutes dishonest misappropriation,” Sithambaram said.

Sithambaram further submitted that Najib’s elaborate scheme to defraud SRC International of its monies also involved the participation of his former principal private secretary the late Datuk Azlin Alias, former Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia chief executive Ung Su Ling and IPSB managing director Datuk Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman.

“There is no evidence to show that they had received any personal benefits in this scheme but were used as pawns by the appellant to effect the transfer of the RM42 million from SRC into his personal bank account.

“The benefactor of the ill-gotten funds is the appellant and the appellant alone and not anybody else including Nik Faisal and Datuk Azlin,” he said.

Sithambaram also called into question Najib’s retention of Nik Faisal as the authorised signatory for both SRC International and his personal bank accounts despite having the latter removed as SRC International chief executive for financial improprieties.

He cited the aforementioned circumstances as the “best evidence” of the trusting relationship between Najib and Nik Faisal, going as far as to describe the latter as a trusted lieutenant of the former PM.

“It is also clear that Nik Faisal was the conduit for the appellant to the SRC board of directors as earlier established, with the actions taken by Nik Faisal clearly within the knowledge of the appellant and done with his express blessings. 

“Why would Nik Faisal who was removed as the chief executive of SRC for financial improprieties by the appellant, yet be kept as SRC’s authorised bank signatory? 

“It is clear as daylight that the appellant who had appointed Nik Faisal as chief executive and removed him as such after the complain of the SRC International board of directors’ chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, still found it fit to retain Nik Faisal in a fiduciary position as authorised signatory of SRC’s bank accounts. 

“This scandalous retention of Nik Faisal was to carry out the appellant’s bidding, which Nik Faisal faithfully carried out by causing the transfer of the appellant’s RM42 million from SRC into the appellant’s personal bank account,” he said.

Najib never authorised to carry out CSR on firm’s behalf

Separately, Sithambaram said there was not a shred of evidence that Najib was appointed by SRC, GMSB and IPSB despite the defence having contended that the money transferred to Najib’s personal bank accounts were for corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes.

“There is no document or evidence to show that the transfer of the RM42 million from SRC via two intermediaries to the appellant’s personal account were legitimate let alone intended for the appellant to carry out CSR purposes, which in any event he had no authority from SRC to do so.

“He seems to have ‘appointed’ himself as a CSR representative for the sole purpose of escaping criminal liability,” he said.

Sithambaram said Najib had issued 15 personal cheques totalling some RM10.77 million to, among others, a political news portal, political parties and personal repair works for his residence.

“It is quite spectacular that he issued cheques then when he is now pleading ignorance about the source of the funds,” he said.

In the RM42 million SRC International case, Najib was sentenced to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of CBT and each of the three counts of money laundering, and 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine, in default five years’ jail, in the case of abuse of position on July 28 last year.

However, Najib will only serve 12 years in jail as the judge ordered all the jail sentences to run concurrently.

The appeal hearing before Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil who chaired a three-member panel alongside Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera resumes tomorrow.

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