The Pekan MP and former PM maintains his innocence and claims the trial is politically motivated by the govt
by RAHIMI YUNUS & ASILA JALIL/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
DATUK Seri Mohd Najib Razak was “shocked” that he was not acquitted from all the charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million misappropriation trials as global media and social platforms feasted on the verdict.
The Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court yesterday said the prosecution had proven a prima facie case for all seven charges and ordered Najib to enter his defend, making him the first former prime minister (PM) to face trial in the country.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was satisfied that prosecution had proven a case for all the seven charges — one power abuse, three criminal breach of trust and three money laundering — involving RM42 million owned by the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd subsidiary.
“In stark contrast, however, the accused personal involvement and interventions in the name of either the PM or the finance minister on SRC International matters with the assistance of Nik Faisal (Ariff Kamil) being one of his principal proxies were disproportionately and glaringly both pervasive and imperious,” Mohd Nazlan said in reading his judgement.
The Pekan MP has maintained his innocence and claimed the trial was politically motivated by the government.
The court had listened to 57 prosecution witnesses during the almost two months trial which had captured global attention.
Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Najib was expecting an acquittal on all the charges.
“He was shocked that defence was called for every charge. He, too, was expecting an acquittal on all seven charges. We were confident there will be an acquittal on all seven charges at this stage because we have rebutted the presumptions even within the prosecution case. “Of course, he was surprised,” Muhammad Shafee told media after the court decision was made yesterday.
Muhammad Shafee said the judge has taken a different interpretation both on facts as well as the law, citing examples such as the inclusion of shadow director in the context of director and no mention on the forgery of signatures in SRC International’s transaction instructions.
Najib has chosen to give sworn evidence in the witness box where he will be subject to cross-examination by the prosecutors.
The eldest son of the country’s second PM is expected to take the stand when the trial commences on Dec 3.
The trial is scheduled to run on Dec 3 and Dec 4 and then continues from Dec 9-19, except for Friday.
The prosecution, led by Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, had offered 66 witnesses to the defence. But a fast judgement to the trial is not expected.
Muhammad Shafee said the SRC International case will “almost definitely” reach the Federal Court and it will extend beyond the next general election.
News of the KL High Court’s order for Najib to enter his defence made global headlines instantly.
Al-Jazeera cited “overarching influence” in the headline which the judge had used to describe Najib’s influence over SRC International.
Bloomberg, Associated Press News, Washington Post, The Times of India and Japan Times all carried the court’s decision.
Agence France-Presse uploaded a 21second video of the event onto its Youtube channel, with several footages of Najib entering and leaving the court room accompanied by subtitles that summarised the event.
Social media was also set abuzz as users commented on the court order. On Facebook, one user commented on Najib’s post on the matter and suggested the former PM to bring businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low to be a witness.
“Bring back Jho Low to be a witness if you think you were betrayed by someone you trust. Tell the judge as well that you forgot to lodge a police report and summon the bank that put in RM42 million into your account,” said the user.
It was reported during the trial that Najib appeared “shocked and upset” that someone has transferred money into his private bank account. He also did not lodge a police report pertaining to the transaction.
Many followers on Najib’s Facebook page continued to support him asking him to stay calm, while some said the defence order won’t stop them from supporting him.
“We believe you will win and succeed in clearing your name. We are with you Bossku,” said one user.
Another user also said that Malaysians will pray for him so that the truth will be on his side.
Many Twitter users retweeted news articles related to the court’s decision. Others had also summarised the court case from the very beginning.