By Aathi Shankar
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will prove that he was not involved in any corrupt act to embezzle SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.
He will prove that the transactions of RM42 million funds belonging to SRC vis-a-vis his private bank accounts were executed without his knowledge, let alone his orders.
In his opening defence statement at the Najib-SRC Trial, lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that the defence would produce important evidence to prove that all those transactions took place without Najib’s knowledge and instructions.
“Najib was not involved in any corrupt arrangement involving funds of SRC and did not solicit any bribes from any person.
“The RM42million transferred into his account was done without his knowledge or involvement and was not a form of gratification related to any act of DSN vis-à-vis SRC,” Shafee told Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today, Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
He said Najib was never briefed on the status of his private accounts in AmBank, hence no knowledge on the transactions.
Moreover, he said the prosecution failed to produce any evidence to prove that the RM42 million deposited into Najib’s private accounts was gratification for himself.
“The evidence as a whole does not support the inference that the RM42million was gratification which Najib was paid either by himself or through any other party as part of a corrupt arrangement.
“The evidence, in fact, reflects that there was no nexus between any of the acts of Najib vis-à-vis SRC in 2011 and 2012 and the transfer of
these funds into his accounts in 2014 and 2015.
“The impetus and cause of the transactions in 2014 and 2015 reflected in the contemporaneous records in evidence also do not support any such nexus or the existence of a single continuous plot or scheme by Najib.”
“The bulk of the evidence as a whole supports the inference that Najib had no knowledge of or reasonable suspicion to believe that there were proceeds of any illegal activity transacted into his accounts.
“Najib also had a reasonable basis to rely on the information provided to him vis-à-vis the provenance of funds in his account noting the surrounding circumstances that existed from 2011 to 2015.”
Najib currently faces 7 counts of corruption charges involving SRC’s RM42 million.
The charges 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 Act (MACC) 2009.
The Pekan MP, 66, 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.
Then premier, Najib was also the advisor emeritus and finance minister at the material time when the alleged embezzlement of SRC funds took place.
On November 11, 2019, Mohd Nazlan had ordered Najib to enter his defence after he adjudged that a prima facie case had been proven at the end of the prosecution trial that ended on August 27, 2019.
Shafee also explained that Najib did not lodge a police report on the SRC’s missing funds because investigations on the case were already on by that time.
“Najib chose to respect the process and integrity on the then-ongoing investigations.”
This very reason was contemporaneously recorded in the reply filed on behalf of Najib in his civil suit filed on January 12, 2016 against former MCA president Tun Ling Liong Sik.
Ultimately the findings of then-Attorney General on the matter was published in 2016 and given the same no further action was required.
From the admissions of the investigating officer Rosli Hussain during the earlier prosecution trial, from the total usage of the funds by way of the cheques and credit cards adduced in evidence was consistent with the accounts being opened for corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes and not for personal enrichment.
Some 98% of the funds utilised vide these cheques were for CSR, 1.5% was used for a gift to a foreign signatory and only 0.5% was used for other purposes.
“Our client (Najib) shall confirm this stunning fact which we shall invite this honourable court to infer whether such spending, which never benefitted him personally but a cross-section of the public at large, is the action of a criminal in the predicate or AMLA offences?” Shafee raised a question.