By Aarthi Shankar
It has been 34 days into the trial of former Premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak pertaining to alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to a government link company (GLC), the SRC International Sdn Bhd.
The prosecution team led by lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram has been trying to prove that Najib had abused his power beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) for SRC International.
SRC International received the loan in two tranches of RM2 billion each in 2011 and 2012.
However, until today, the prosecution is yet to produce an iota of tenable evidence that could convince anyone with legal knowledge that Najib was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of abusing his power.
So far the prosecution team has only produced some minutes jotted down by Najib on the SRC International’s loan applications and testimonies by several witnesses about so-called “pressure”, that too based on hearsay and assumptions.
This fact was further affirmed in the trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, by the prosecution witness No.43 Maliami Hamad, former secretary to the treasury department’s investment and loan division under the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Maliami had first claimed in his witness statement and during the examination-in-chief that he was under pressure to vet and prepare the Cabinet memorandum or papers on the government guarantees for SRC International to secure the KWAP loan.
However, when cross-examined, he clarified that there was nothing “mischievous” when he said pressure, pointing out that he was merely referring to his normal job pressure that demanded him to prepare the papers in time for the Cabinet perusal.
“The pressure that I meant was that about the time period. We only had a short time period to prepare the Cabinet papers,” he testified before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
He also admitted that his perception that SRC International was Najib’s company and that Najib wanted the Cabinet papers to be expedited were merely based on hearsay and assumptions.
He testified that he neither met nor discussed about SRC International’s government guarantees with Najib.
Neither did Najib ever put personal pressure on Maliami to expedite preparation of the papers.
He also confirmed that the Cabinet papers prepared by his division on the loan guarantees went through proper channel and strictly followed all government procedures.
The 65-year-old Maliami agreed that all those who vetted the Cabinet papers, including him, are bound by the law to dismiss the papers if they had found something was amiss, not right or inappropriate over the loan application and government guarantees.
However, in this case, there was none, and the Cabinet duly approved the papers and decided to become the guarantor for SRC International for the KWAP’s loan.
Besides Maliami, the Cabinet papers were also vetted by then the Treasury Deputy Secretary General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, and Secretary General Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah.
Maliami’s testimony shows there was no hanky-panky or abuse of power in the Cabinet’s decision-making process to give guarantees to SRC International.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to SRC International funds.
The charges were 3 each for CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and 1 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.