by BERNAMA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
The High Court here today was told that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) never raised the issue of forgery of his signatures on several SRC International Sdn Bhd-related documents during the prosecution stage of the trial.
Ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said the defence even did not bring up the issue when the 39th prosecution witness identified the former prime minister’s signatures during the prosecution’s case last year.
“During the prosecution’s case, former chairman of SRC’s board of directors Tan Sri Ismee Ismail had identified the Pekan MP’s signatures. The defence did not challenge Ismee’s identification of Najib’s signatures then.
“My lord, there is no challenge on why he (Ismee) identified these as the signatures of Najib. This was the opportune moment to raise that issue,” said Sithambaram.
He pointed out that the prosecution was not hiding anything or trying to play games with the defence.
“All cards are on the table. We are not playing poker here. Justice is not a game. This is not the case where we did not give them a chance. We did not push them into a corner…57 days, never a word about forgery. Therefore, the court should dismiss this application,” said Sithambaram.
Sithambaram said as the country’s prime minister, Najib should have made a police report if he found documents that he had not signed.
“A police report must be made and to challenge immediately the allegation of forgery. But he did not do that,” he said.
He submitted that there was no need for the court to call for an expert to say if the signatures on seven documents disputed by the defence were Najib’s signatures or otherwise.
He said this was because Najib, the accused himself, could say if the signatures were his.
“Here we are talking about signatures. Najib was in a position to say these were his or not. No need to call for an expert. He had also admitted the signatures were his earlier. Now he changes his stance,” he said.
Wrapping up his submission, Sithambaram said the accused had the right to procure any evidence for his defence, but this came with limitations.
Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah countered that SRC International documents which bore the alleged former premier’s signatures were admitted earlier on with the caveat that their authenticity could be challenged later.
“During the prosecution stage of the trial last year, we placed a caveat on those documents, meaning they could be marked as evidence but could be challenged.
“It is marked as P (marker for evidence admitted in court). Yang Arif can revisit the ruling,” said Muhammad Shafee, adding that the prosecution’s action curtailing an accused’s defence would be prejudicial to the case.
After hearing submissions by both parties, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said he would decide on the matter tomorrow and ordered the prosecution to continue their cross-examination on Najib.
On Dec 9, Muhammad Shafee informed the court that the defence team would call a handwriting expert from Australia to study the authenticity of several documents bearing Najib’s signatures which had been tendered to the court.
Last year, the High Court ordered Najib, 67, to enter his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in 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.
The trial continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan.