Najib’s defence says prosecution pivots from original case

Prosecution did not prove that Najib was in control of fund transfers totalling RM42m from SRC International to his accounts, says defence counsel

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by BERNAMA

AFTER 14 months, the SRC International trial is coming to an end this week with oral submissions by both sides for three days starting yesterday first by the defence.

The defence team of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) argued that the prosecution has changed its case against the accused around testimonies heard in the defence stage.

Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh said the prosecution has deviated from the legal points in the prima facie ruling by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali which Najib was ordered to enter into defence in November last year.

Harvinderjit said the prosecution did not prove that Najib was in control of fund transfers totalling RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd to his accounts, but instead has shifted the case to around the fact that Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, Najib’s former private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias and former SRC International MD Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil were tasked with putting the money.

As such, he said the prosecution has departed from the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges that Najib was supposed to defend after the prima facie case had been established.

He said the prosecution has now relied on answers given by Najib during cross-examination, tailored their case and put forward the idea that Jho Low was involved with the accused when in fact that was the defence’s case.

“However, the charges are that Najib (allegedly) committed CBT of RM42 million. But the charges did not state conspiracy. So what happened was that the prosecution tailored their case,” Harvinderjit said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

The defence counsel added that fugitive businessman Jho Low had carried out subterfuge to siphon millions of ringgit via Najib’s account without his knowledge.

Najib has been charged on three counts of CBT, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC International funds totalling RM42 million.

The former prime minister is facing a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and fine for the crimes, upon conviction.

Since the trial began on April 3 last year, the High Court has heard from 57 prosecution witnesses followed by 19 witnesses during the defence stage, which ran for 33 days from Dec 3.

Former Second Finance Minister (FM) Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah, former Retirement Fund Inc CEO Datuk Azian Mohd Noh, former Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad were among top government officials who had taken the witness stand in the trial.

SRC International, a unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd, was incorporated on Jan 7, 2011, as an initiative to support the country’s agenda to ensure energy security and reduce reliance on oil and gas, and coal.

The defence attempted to prove that Najib, who was the company’s advisor emeritus and FM at the material time, was “not involved in any corrupt arrangements”.