Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Two

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Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak arrived at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for the second day of his SRC International Sdn trial today.

However, there weren’t any supporters flocking to his car this time.

Instead of his customary wave and acknowledgement to the crowd, this time he swiftly moved towards the courtroom, accompanied by his bodyguards.

Firdaus Latif

Najib’s faces three charges of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code, one charge of abusing his position under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 and three counts of money laundering over SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFA) 2001.

If convicted, the Pekan MP can be sentenced up to 20 years’ jail, whipping and fine for the CBT charges; 20 years’ jail and a fine not less than five times the amount involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher, for the abuse of power charge; and 15 years’ jail, and a fine up to RM15 million or five times the amount involved, whichever is higher, for the money-laundering charges.

Today, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas is expected to lead the 13-person prosecution team, comprised of deputy public prosecutors Sulaiman Abdullah, V Sithambaram, Manoj Kurup, Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Donald Joseph Franklin, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, Sulaiman Kho Kheng Fuei, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed, Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril, Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, and Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril.

Najib will be represented by a 13-person defence team led by veteran criminal lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Other members of the defence team are former solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, Harvinderjit Singh, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Chong Loong Men, Devanandan S Subramaniam, Farhan Read, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, Rahmat Hazlan, Muhammad Farhan Shafee, Tiara Katrina Fuad, Nur Syahirah Hanapiah, and Zahria Eleena Redza.

The trial today will commence with Najib’s defence team cross-examining the first witness of the case Muhammad Akmaludin Abdullah, 35, who is an assistant registrar of Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

Akmaluddin had told the court on the first day of the trial that he had received a request from the MACC to run checks on records of three companies, namely SRC International, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.

SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary, had a paid capital of RM1 million when it registered with the SSM on Jan 7, 2011, and checks performed on shareholders also found that all one million shares were held by the Finance Ministry (Incorporated).

Akmaluddin identified Suboh Md Yassin as SRC International’s former director and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as its former chief executive officer and managing director.

Suboh is under a witness protection programme and is expected to testify soon, while Nik Faisal remains at large, possibly in Indonesia, according to reports.

Chronology of Events:

8.50am: Najib’s lawyer, Shafee Muhammad Shafee Abdullah arrives.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

8.52am: Attorney-general Tommy Thomas arrives at the High Court.

8.55am: Wearing a dark suit and tie, Najib arrives in black Proton Perdana.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

9.03am: Najib enters the courtroom and sits in the front row of the public gallery while his lawyers Shafee and Harvinderjit Singh confer. He is seen reading a book entitled ‘Dunia Tanpa Tembok’ (World Without Walls) by Ayman Rashdan Wong as he waits for the proceedings to start.

Prosecution led by A-G Tommy Thomas and V Sithambaram is already seated in the courtroom.

9.05am: Najib puts away his book and enters the dock as High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali enters the courtroom to begin proceedings.

9.13am: Trial begins.

Sithambaran: Prosecution witness No. 1 Mohamad Akmaludin Abdullah was asked to give additional docs by defence on Day One. It’s up to the court to decide whether these docs are necessary. Court has to consider whether they should be admitted. Ask for court to direct.

Harvinderjit: Asked PW1 to produce 3 docs – application docs for SRC International, Yayasan Rakyat and directors of Yayasan Rakyat. Docs should be produced before we talk about admissibility. Bring docs first then we’ll see.

Sithambaran: If the defence argues that these docs can be publicly available then they should go get it. Like Yayasan 1Malaysia Rakyat these docs are in the defence’s hands. These docs are already with them but they chose to ask PW1 to produce them again.

9.23am: Nazlan orders a temporary stand down of the trial to allow the defence to view documents they had previously asked the first prosecution witness Muhamad Akmaludin Abdullah to produce.

Najib, now seated in the public gallery, picks up his book again. He checks his phone.

9.42am: Proceedings resume, with Sithamabaram informing the court that the prosecution has no objection to the defence’s application to view the three documents related to SRC International.

Akmaludin Abdullah takes the stand again to face cross-examination by Harvinderjit Singh.

Judge orders trial to stand down

“Before we can talk about admissibility, the documents must be shown to us first, then they can be entered as public documents.

“My learned friend (Sithambaram) is jumping the gun. He can also view the documents and we take it from there,” the defence lawyer says.

Najib is back in the dock.

10am: Akmaludin corroborates Harvinderjit’s statement that the original or initial SRC shareholders were Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Vincent Beng Huat Koh

‪Harvinderjit asks if SRC was owned by 1MDB at the time it was incorporated.

11.05am: After more than an hour, Harvinderjit is still verifying the documents submitted by Akmaludin. He is checking the dates the application forms were submitted for SRC and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, and the companies’ memorandum of articles.

11.13am: The proceedings stop for a short break after Akmaludin is cross-examined by Harvinderjit who had questioned the witness on the apparent incongruity of 999,998 SRC International shares being transferred to 1MDB Energy a few months before documents were received by the Companies Commission in August 2011.

11.27am: Proceedings resume. Akmaludin takes the stand again.

During Harvinderjit’s cross-examination, Akmaludin gave a series of answers that alternated between “Yes” and “I do not know” in regards to filings by SRC International with SSM.

Harvinderjit’s line of questioning focused on SSM filings by SRC International, which seemed to show a delay in their filing whereby the date of the documents is at least a month from when they were filed with SSM.

12.30pm: Akmaludin is released from the witness stand after cross-examination and re-examination.

Prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim calls the prosecution’s second witness, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) manager Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar to the stand.

Azizul was part of the Bank Negara team which raided the Jalan Raja Chulan Ambank branch at Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, on July 6, 2015.

Azizul: I joined BNM in 2008 as an investigator for cases related to Amla (Anti-Money Laundering, AntiTerrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001). I was called to assist in an investigation in 2015 at Ambank under Amla for ‘obligation to report’.

We met with a manager, Uma Devi and we gave her a list of accounts we wanted to check. She came back with 17 documents.

We recorded the documents that needed to be brought back to BNM.

Suhaimi: Are these the documents (brought back to BNM): account statements and letters of authorisation belonging to Najib Razak?

Azizul: Yes.

Harvinderjit applied for a short recess to allow the defence to go through the sets of documents.

The judge allowed the application and fixed 2.30pm for proceedings.

12.56pm: After verifying the documents submitted as evidence by Azizul, court adjourns for lunch.

1pm: Najib exits the court complex towards his car. Around 10 supporters are seen waiting for Najib outside the complex lobby.

A supporter is heard shouting, “Hidup Najib!”, “Hancur kezaliman, hancurkan DAP!” and “Lawan tetap lawan!”(Long live Najib! Destory cruelty, annihilate DAP! We will continue to fight!)

Najib smiles and shakes hands with one of his supporters before entering his car.

Firdaus Latif

2.30pm: Najib, accompanied by six aides, hurries back to the courtroom.

Firdaus Latif

2.40pm: Proceedings resume with Suhaimi continuing his examination-in-chief of Azizul.

2.47pm: Harvinderjit asks the prosecution to change the numbering of documents to the top so that it will be easier for the defence to refer.

Suhaimi says the numbering used in the eight folders of evidence submitted in relation to the SRC International probe by Bank Negara.

2.59pm: Azizul reads out the letter of appointment for him to investigate matters related to AMLA, Financial Services Act, BAFIA etc and produces his authority card for the defence. He then identifies Ambank’s Uma Devi for the court.

3.02pm: Proceedings temporarily adjourned to allow Najib’s defence team to get the necessary documentation to properly cross-examine Azizul.

Harvinderjit says their documentation was a bit “jumbled up” while the prosecution’s one was better arranged.

Nazlan then allows the temporary adjournment.

3.05pm: Court adjourns to check folders and documents.

Najib goes back to reading one of his books, appearing engrossed as he flips the pages.

4.15pm: Sithambaram informs the court that the process of photocopying the documents needed by Najib’s defence is taking longer than expected.

“The photocopying is taking longer than expected and may even stretch to 5pm,” he says.

The judge allows the prosecution’s application to adjourn proceedings until 9am tomorrow.

4.20pm: Najib leaves the court complex smiling, together with some 10 supporters.

When reporters ask him about the proceedings, he replies: “I do not wish to comment, ask our lawyers.”


Earlier report: Apr 3, Najib Trial: Day One