Najib’s SRC International trial enters Day 6

The former PM faces 
7 charges involving CBT, power abuse and money laundering of funds owned by SRC International

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ISMAIL CHE RUS

Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial enters Day Six today with more witnesses to testify as the prosecutor zooms in how the alleged misappropriated RM42 million was spent.

After five days of the hearings last week, the prosecutor — led by Attorney General Tommy Thomas — has called seven witnesses, comprising a Companies Commission of Malaysia deputy registrar; three Bank Negara Malaysia employees; one staff at AmBank Group; a designer and a plumbing specialist.

Former Prime Minister (PM) Najib faces seven charges involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), power abuse and money laundering of funds owned by SRC International.

“The accused is not above the law and his prosecution and trial should serve as precedent for all future holders of this august office,” Thomas said as he opened the trial.

The Pekan MP has been accused of misappropriating RM42 million from SRC International out of the RM4 billion government-guaranteed loans received from the Retirement Fund Inc, or better known as KWAP.     

The central bank officers testified about raids conducted at an AmBank’s branch and Affin Bank Bhd headquarters — both in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur (KL), on July 6, 2015.

The raid at AmIslamic Bank Bhd confiscated documents that showed transactions of 12 accounts belonging to Najib, SRC International, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, Yayasan Gemilang 1Malaysia and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia.

Three groups raided the bank’s branch including teams under the directives of the special task force formed in 2015.

The operation at Affin Bank seized documents on Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd’s accounts.

Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana, purportedly SRC International’s corporate social responsibility partners, were alleged to be the vehicles used to channel the RM42 million funds into Najib’s personal accounts.

At the material time, apart from being the PM and finance minister, Najib was also appointed the chairman of the board of advisors of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and an advisor emeritus at SRC International.    

The second prosecution witness, Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, a manager at the central bank, testified about transactions (deposit and withdrawals) ranging from RM5 million to RM40 million between SRC International and Gandingan Mentari in 2014 and 2015.

The KL High Court heard about payments for the installation of a 6,000-litre water tank and the construction of a storeroom at Najib’s private residence, including payments to state Umno and other
beneficiaries.

The prosecutor’s fifth witness, Badron Hisham Mohd, a senior manager at AmBank’s cheque processing centre, verified that 17 cheques were issued between December 2014 and March 2015, for amounts ranging from RM13,800 to RM20 million.

The evidence showed that SRC International had issued a cheque of RM20 million and another cheque of more than RM103,000 to Ihsan Perdana.

Other cheques were issued to, among others, legal firm Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak (RM3.5 million), Penang Umno liaison (RM1 million), Johor Baru Umno (RM300,000), Asmadi Abu Talib (RM50,000), United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (RM1 million), trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak (RM400,000) and Lim Soon Peng (RM238,914).

The prosecution’s sixth witness, Zulkarnain Mohamad, a designer at ABS Trend Master Sdn Bhd, testified that he helped construct a storeroom at Najib’s house in Jalan Langgak Duta, KL, in late 2014.

The works covered the construction of a storeroom, a kitchenette and wardrobe cabinets for a quoted price of RM243,000 (or RM234,000 as he could not exactly remember).

ABS Trend Master was one of the recipients of the 17 cheques issued revealed in the court.

Zulkarnain, 46, said payments made to the company amounted to RM150,000 were made with cheques.

The prosecutor’s seventh witness, Mohammad Zakariyya Zearat Khan, the owner of a plumbing specialist company, MOZ (M) Sdn Bhd, testified about repairs done at Najib’s Langgak Duta house in 2015.

MOZ was also one of the payees of the cheques issued with an amount of RM56,500, for the installations of a tank and pump.

The trial this week is set to heat up as the defence is expected to cross-examine the prosecutor’s fourth witness, Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, a manager at the central bank, over correspondence between managers at AmBank and 1MDB, fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (better known as Jho Low), Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Datuk Suboh Md Yasin, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and a few others.

The defence said the communications are key to their case to establish elements of “rouge bankers” and that Najib was out of the loop and a victim of Jho Low’s and the gang’s conspiracy.

The defence had cited the Wall Street Journal’s reports and the “Billion Dollar Whale” book in a heated exchange with the prosecutor in the proceeding.