Najib admits to spending RM10m, believes it was from his CSR funds

He maintains his stance that he did not know the money was SRC International’s funds

by TMR / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

DATUK Seri Mohd Najib Razak admitted yesterday that he had spent tens of millions of money credited into his personal bank accounts between 2014 and 2015.

Bernama reported that the 67-year-old former prime minister (PM) told the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court that he had spent every cent in his accounts as he thought it was from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds that he had.

However, Najib maintained his stance that he did not know the money was SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

When cross-examined by ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram, the Pekan MP agreed that he had spent RM27 million that was credited into his accounts in July, and RM5 million in September 2014.

Sithambaram: RM27 million went into your account in July, you said you did not know?

Najib: Yes, I did not know that it was SRC International’s money. I only know much later.

Sithambaram: But you spent every cent of it?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: Did you know that RM5 million went into your account in September?

Najib: I did not know at that time.

Sithambaram: But you spent every cent of it?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: In December, RM27 million went into your account. Did you know that?

Najib: At that time, I did not know.

Sithambaram: But you spent it?

Najib: Yes, I spent it…it was the CSR fund that I had.

To another question, Najib said he did not find it shocking that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the former CEO of SRC International did not tell him that RM32 million was transferred into his accounts, as Nik Faisal was managing his account.

Sithambaram: So, the mandate holder can keep away from you large funds going in and leaving your account, and you don’t find it shocking?

Najib: Yes.

Earlier, the KL High Court allowed Najib’s application to call a handwriting expert to verify his signatures on some documents linked to his SRC International trial.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali held that under the law, an accused is entitled to procure and lead any relevant evidence of his choice in his defence.

The judge said even if the basis for the application was an afterthought or a recent invention by the accused, this was not a valid reason to bar the accused from leading evidence in his defence.

“Nevertheless, the weight to be given to this expert evidence, should it be tendered, including whether the credibility of the defence of the accused is adversely affected by an afterthought, is for this court to determine at the end of the case,” he said.

Mohd Nazlan added that the evidentiary value of the intended evidence is also an issue to be determined at the end of the case.

The judge said in order to ensure the examination of the exhibits does not interfere with the proceedings of the case, the defence must arrange for the examination by the expert to take place next week, for a period of not more than two days before the trial continues (after today), on Feb 3, 2020.

He said the venue will be in the court premises that will be further notified by the deputy registrar. Representatives of the prosecution, defence and the court are to be in attendance.

Justice Mohd Nazlan also ruled that the prosecution is allowed to call a rebuttal witness as provided under Section 425 of the Criminal Procedure Code if they wish to do so.

On Monday, Sithambaram argued that the court should reject the former PM’s application as it clearly showed it was an afterthought and a tactical manoeuvre to delay proceedings.

On Dec 9, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah 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.

Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the funds.

The trial continues today. — TMR