‘I want to get back to this,’ says Najib

He tells the KL High Court that the defence is considering calling Mohamed Apandi to testify as witness

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARIF KARTONO

DEPUTY public prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram hit out at Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak for asking more time to answer several questions during yesterday’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial.

The prosecution argued that former Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s statements four years ago did not have any references to the criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money-laundering charges that are currently levelled against the former prime minister (PM). Najib, however, did not agree nor disagree with the prosecutor’s argument.

Sithambaram: Sir, do you agree with me that the press statement did not make any reference to the CBT and AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001) charges?

Najib: (Silent for a few seconds) Probably not. I want to get back to this.

Sithambaram: When do you want to get back to this? You are testifying.

Najib: During the re-examination by our side (the defence).

Sithambaram: Sir, in order for your lawyers to do the re-examination, you need to take a position in court now.

During the cross-examination, Najib told the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court that the defence is considering calling Mohamed Apandi to testify as witness.

In a press conference on Jan 26, 2016, Mohamed Apandi absolved Najib of any wrongdoings related to SRC International and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

He was quoted as saying that there was no evidence to show that the then PM had solicited or was promised any gratification from any party either before, during or after the decision was made at a Cabinet meeting for the approval of government guarantees on the RM4 billion loaned to SRC International.

He said the PM did not abuse his position during the Cabinet meeting and the loan approvals were done properly. Mohamed Apandi also said there was no evidence to show that the PM had any knowledge or had been informed that monies had been transferred into his personal accounts from SRC International, while the latter was of the belief that all payments made to him was from a Saudi royal family as donation.

Mohamed Apandi replaced Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, whose contract was terminated on medical grounds. Abdul Gani was a member of a special task force that investigated 1MDB scandals.

On the same day of the press conference in 2016, the media reported that Mohamed Apandi was appointed as director at Lembaga Tabung Haji.

Meanwhile, Najib said it would be difficult for the defence to get any Saudi royals to testify in court to substantiate his claims that the money received came from the Middle East kingdom.

The defendant has maintained that monies channelled to Najib came from royal donations.

Sithambaram: I put it to you, from day one that you knew as a fact these monies never came from the Saudi royal family.

Najib: I disagree…because some of the monies directly came from the Saudi Ministry of Finance.

Sithambaram: Unfortunately, no member of the Saudi royal family would come to court and confirm this, correct, Sir?

Najib: Well, it is difficult to have them come to court.

Sithambaram argued that it was convenient to use that argument to avoid calling any member of the Saudi royal family to court, but Najib disagreed.

Meanwhile, the defence told the KL High Court that the Australian handwriting expert, who will verify Najib’s signatures, is tentatively scheduled to come on Feb 10.

The defence said the examination of the alleged documents is expected to take two days and a report could be ready in a week.

The trial was adjourned until Feb 3.