by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
FORMER Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) told the High Court here today he had a ‘sense’ there was enough money in his bank accounts that he kept issuing cheques even without knowing the exact balance in these accounts.
Najib, 66, said he would only ask his former principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias to check with SRC International Sdn Bhd chief executive officer, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil regarding the balance in his accounts.
“Nik Faisal and Azlin did not tell me the exact balance left in the accounts and I had never contacted Nik Faisal directly even though he was the mandate holder for my accounts,” he said during cross-examination by ad-hoc prosecutor, Datuk V. Sithambaram.
In response to this, Sithambaram said nobody issued cheques without knowing the exact balance in the account, furthermore it was done by Najib who held the Finance Minister position at that time.
Further questioned by Sithambaram, the Pekan MP reiterated that he believed the monies in his bank accounts ending with 880, 898 and 906 came from a donation by a Arab royal family.
“I have no knowledge and I never questioned the funds being paid into my accounts until it became an issue,” he said.
Najib also agreed with Sithambaram’s suggestion that he wrote cheques amounting to millions of ringgit for political use, among others.
Sithambaram also questioned Najib over the latter’s allegedly different responses to whether he signed the Minister of Finance Inc (MKD) minutes on allowing an amendment to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) memorandum and articles of association (M&A).
Sithambaram said the amendment was to insert Article 117, which provided great power on then premier Najib in relation to the 1MDB board’s decision-making.
Sithambaram: In your written witness statement, you said that you could not be sure whether you signed the amendment to 1MDB’s M&A due to the strangeness of the corporate documents but during cross-examination by Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, you confirmed it was your signature.
Najib: Yes, but that is subject to seeing the original document.
Meanwhile, Sithambaram also made a sarcastic reference where he said Najib was a careful man that he issued a press statement regarding chocolates that went missing during a police raid at his residence but did not pay much attention to his personal and government’s funds.
Najib, however, said it was a complaint (on chocolates) from his daughter.
Sithambaram: So you have issued a press release… it was not your chocolates then
Najib: Not mine.
Sithambaram: I find it difficult that the (former) prime minister and finance minister is quite clueless on his financial accounts.
Najib: You can ask my private secretary, who is managing my personal accounts.
Towards the end of the afternoon’s proceeding, Sithambaram informed judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that he was feeling dizzy and nauseous, and proposed for an early adjournment for the day.
Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah did not object to the application.
The whole court erupted into laughter when judge Mohd Nazlan asked whether Sithambaram was not feeling well due to constant interruption from Najib’s co-counsel Harvinderjit Singh.
The judge allowed the prosecution’s application and set for the trial to resume on Jan 6 next year, while reminding the former prime minister that he is still under oath and not to discuss the case with anyone in the interim.
On Nov 11, Najib was ordered to enter his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.