Najib’s defence urges court to avoid public opinion

Although the public may get angry due to the seriousness of the allegations, the facts of the case must prevail


DATUK Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) defence in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial urged the High Court to make a decision free from the influence of public opinion.

As the hearing is coming to an end this week, defence counsel Farhan Read said in an oral submission that Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s decision should be based on law and facts instead of on public opinion.

Farhan acknowledged that although the public may get angry due to the seriousness of the allegations, the facts of the case must prevail.

“We are going through the base facts and the court of public opinion does not concern itself with being fair.

“The court today should not be influenced by opinion but should decide based on facts and law,” he said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

Farhan said the public has been quick to link Najib and SRC International with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), Paris Hilton and lavish spending.

With that, he said the defence “has been going through many haystacks to find the needle of proof” in the case.

“The needle of proof, in this case, is that we cannot say he (Najib) had the intention to do something in 2011 and 2012 that he could not have seen happening down the road in 2014 and 2015,” the lawyer said.

On Najib’s bank accounts, Farhan said the accounts’ statements were deliberately hidden from him.

“We are not beneficiaries of donations. We do not have under our belt the weight of the concerns of this country. Unlike us, Najib had no time to keep track of his funds,” he said.

Additionally, he said the transfer of SRC International from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to the Finance Ministry was for better government oversight of the company, instead of the alleged misconduct cover-ups.

“If he (Najib) wanted to plunder funds from government-linked companies, the best thing to do is not to place more control over them,” he said.

SRC International, a unit of 1MDB, was incorporated on Jan 7, 011, 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 finance minister at the material time, was “not involved in any corrupt arrangements”.

Farhan also said Najib had not directed the Retirement Fund Inc to approve the RM2 billion loans for SRC International. It was determined by the pension fund’s investment panel.

Najib has been charged on three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position 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.

This week, the defence and prosecution will go all out to convince Mohd Nazlan on their respective case in the SRC International trial during oral submissions.

Judge Mohd Nazlan may take one or two months to deliver his verdict for the case.