by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARIF KARTONO
THE prosecution has failed to prove that Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) had a personal interest at the Cabinet meetings in 2011 and 2012 that approved the government guarantees for the RM4 billion loans to SRC International Sdn Bhd, the Court of Appeal heard.
Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the court that Najib had no personal nor pecuniary interest when he chaired the Cabinet meetings and thus the charge of abuse of power levelled against him was wrong and illegal.
“Najib, as the prime minister (PM), was the chairman of the Cabinet, which was the government of the day. The trial Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was 100% wrong to conclude that he was using his position for any gratification.
“My Lord, as the then PM, Najib was the ‘first among equals’ in the Cabinet. At the end of the day, the Cabinet made a collective decision.
“It was not a decision by an individual (Najib), the PM, finance minister (FM) or representative of MoF (Ministry of Finance) Inc.”
He said Najib’s presence at that meeting was required as the then-PM and FM, as the matter was deemed to be for the advantage of the government, thus there was no issue of conflict of interest.
The counsel said it had become a total distraction because Najib was said to have participated in the Cabinet meetings for a personal gain of RM42 million from the RM4 billion that were loaned by the Retirement Fund Inc to SRC.
He further said there is no nexus between the decision taken to approve the government guarantee and the gratification that was intended, and that Najib was seriously prejudiced and disadvantaged.
The defence started making their final reply yesterday following 12 days of the appeal hearing for both the prosecution and defence.
Najib was found guilty of all seven charges relating to the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC.