Prosecution closes case on Najib’s SRC trial

by BERNAMA/ pic by TMR

THE prosecution in the high-profile trial of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture), who is facing seven charges of misappropriation of RM42 million funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, closed its case yesterday after calling 57 witnesses.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas told Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the prosecution was resting its case against Najib after re-examining its last witness, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) senior assistant commissioner (special operations division) Rosli Hussain.

“With this, the trial, which began on April 3 this year, after 58 days and 57 witnesses, has come to an end. I formally close the prosecution’s case,” he said.

He informed the court that the prosecution would offer 66 witnesses to the defence, should the defence be called.

Lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who was leading the defence team, asked the prosecution whether all witnesses were available physically. Deputy public prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram replied that most of the witnesses were contactable.

“We will definitely make the witnesses available. If we can locate them, we will inform the defence,” he said.

The judge set Oct 22 and 23 for the prosecution and defence to raise their oral submissions and ordered both parties to file and exchange their submissions by Sept 24.

During the trial, the prosecution tendered more than 750 exhibits including bank documents relating to Najib’s bank accounts, documents of cash transactions, minutes of meetings and Blackberry Messenger chats over Najib’s transactions.

The witnesses included AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi, 40; Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) former CEO Datuk Azian Mohd Noh, 66; former member of SRC’s board of directors Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 54; and SRC non-executive director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, 68.

Others were former Finance Ministry secretary general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, 67; former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, 48; former Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, 67; and investigating officer Rosli, 54.

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, was first brought to the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Sessions Court on July 4, 2018, to face three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of abuse of power in connection with SRC funds totalling RM42 million.

On Aug 8, he was charged again in the Sessions Court on three counts of money laundering involving the same amount of the same funds. The cases were later transferred to the KL High Court with the charges consolidated in one trial.

Najib, 66, served as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister (PM) from April 2009 to May 2018 and is the country’s first PM to find himself in the dock of a court. He is accused of committing seven offences between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.

With regard to the CBT charges, Najib, as a public servant and agent — namely Malaysia’s PM and finance minister — and advisor emeritus of SRC, allegedly misappropriated RM27 million and RM5 million respectively of RM4 billion belonging to SRC.

He is charged with committing the two offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, AmBank Group Building, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, KL, between Dec 24 and Dec 29, 2014.

On the third count, Najib allegedly misappropriated RM10 million of RM4 billion belonging to SRC, at the same place between Feb 10 and March 2, 2015.

The three charges are framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for maximum jail of 20 years with whipping and liable to fine upon conviction.

On the charge of power abuse, Najib as PM and finance minister allegedly used his position to commit bribery involving RM42 million when he participated or was involved in a decision to provide government guarantees for loans from KWAP to SRC amounting to RM4 billion.

He is accused of committing the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, Federal Territory of Putrajaya, between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 8, 2012.

The charge under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, and punishable under Section 24 of the same Act, provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

On the three money laundering charges, Najib is alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million respectively, of proceeds from unlawful activities, via real-time electronic transfer of funds and securities into two of his AmIslamic Bank accounts bearing the numbers 2112022011880 and 2112022011906.

He is accused of committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank, AmBank Group Building, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, KL, between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

If convicted, the ex-PM faces on each count up to 15 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the illicit proceeds or RM5 million, whichever is higher, as punishable under Section 4(1) of the same Act. — Bernama