By Aathi Shankar
Many are still perplexed on why former Prime Minister Najib Razak had been charged for the alleged misappropriation of RM42 million funds of the government-linked company (GLC), SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Najib was the finance minister and SRC’s advisor, not a director when the alleged embezzlement took place.
But he has been slapped with 7 charges altogether for a single alleged crime, while the directors, who should be held accountable, have all gone scot-free.
Today, Tuesday, December 3, 2019, marks the beginning of his defence given that Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazai adjudged on November 11, 2019, that the prosecution had proved a prima facie case in the Najib-SRC case.
Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said in his opening statement today that to suggest that the SRC directors, who were highly qualified and experienced individuals, were unaware of their statutory and legal duties to act in the best interest of the company and instead unquestioningly acted on the say-so of the company’s former chief executive officer (CEO) Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and/or based on purported resolutions of a shareholder on matters, which only the board of directors could have and should have decided on, defied logic and reeked of self-serving afterthoughts, inspired by their own selfpreservation.
Shafee said reliance on selective provisions of the memorandum of articles and association (M&A) of SRC to suggest that Najib was unilaterally empowered to direct and control the board of directors on all matters is unsupported by a clear reading of those very provisions and ignored that the M&A conversely expressly provided for the management and determination of all investment and policies to be decided exclusively with the board.
He pointed that the testimony of SRC’s ex-chairman and director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and ex-director Datuk Suboh Yassin vis-à-vis any instructions of directions they received from Najib was based on inadmissible hearsay evidence and do not amount to any proof.
“Their testimony was in any event incredible given that the contemporaneous documentary evidence on the corporate governance regime of SRC and the records of the deliberations and key decisions of the board of directors reflects that the board did indeed act as the ultimate decision-making body in SRC and were not adhering to instructions or directions of any third person.”
The charges against Najib were 3 each for criminal breach of trust (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 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009.
The 66-year-old Pekan MP had allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.