Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Six

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Defence links some money from Najib to good causes.

Chronology of Events:

8.54am: Najib, wearing a dark grey suit, enters the courtroom. A book is once again seen placed beside him on a public gallery seat as he waits for today’s proceedings to begin.

Firdaus Latif

9.05am: Fourth prosecution witness Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin enters the courtroom and heads to the witness stand.

Last week, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had allowed the defence to impel the Bank Negara investigation officer to produce documents and items seized from a 2015 raid on the Jalan Raja Chulan Ambank branch.

Najib’s lawyers want Farhan to produce evidence indicating communication between Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu and 1MDB-linked fugitive Jho Low.

9.13am: Najib is seated outside the dock on a bench checking his smartphone and chatting with someone next to him.

9.20am: Najib enters the dock as Nazlan comes into court to begin proceedings.

DPP V Sithambaram brings up the court recordings posted on Facebook last week.

The prosecution says the recording is only given to the defence and the prosecution for their private use and cannot under any circumstance distribute it, copy or give it to a third party.

The prosecution asks for court direction on the leak.

10am: Nazlan says that the court will not rule on whether the uploading of the CRT from Friday’s proceedings constitutes contempt of court, as the matter is now the subject of a police investigation.

However, he reminds both the prosecution and the defence that as officers of the court, they must abide by their undertaking when handling the CRT.

The judge tells them that the CRT recording is only meant to assist both sides in the transcription of proceedings, and not for use in an unauthorised manner, such as being uploaded onto social media.

10.10am: The prosecution calls its witness, Daud Muhammad, a 53-year-old contractor who operates a company named Syadila Enterprise.

Daud testifies to the court that he conducted three construction and repair projects amounting to RM77,300 at one of Najib’s houses in 2014.

This included a contract to build two water towers at the house in Pekan, Pahang, which was called Seri Kenangan.

The height of the towers measured two storeys and three storeys respectively.

Daud says one of the towers was built near the house’s kitchen, while the other was near Najib’s bedroom.

The project cost RM67,000 and took three months to complete.

The witness adds that two other works he carried out for Najib were maintenance of his Pekan residence (air-conditioner servicing, electrical wiring and roof repairs), for which he charged RM9,540, and repairs of the house’s doorknobs and kitchen for RM760.

Daud testifies all invoices were in the name of Zainudin Abdul Aziz, who is the manager of Najib’s house, and he received cheques for all payments.

10.22am: Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah begins his cross-examination on Daud by asking him if MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) had taken his statement.

Daud said yes, he was questioned by the MACC in 2015.

Shafee: Is it true that the official residence known as Sri Kayangan in Pekan is also the BN headquarters for Pekan?

Daud: Yes, true.

10.40am: Daud says the water towers were necessary as the old water tank was no longer working properly.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

“It had been repaired four times but was still broken,” Daud says of the old water tank, adding that the new water towers, which have a 4,500-litre capacity in total, were needed to cater for 1,000 people and those using the house.

Daud says that among those who use the house are orphans during programmes.

Shafee: As a whole, the work you did, was it for pressing need or luxury?

Daud: It was a pressing need.

The witness is then released from the dock. The court takes a recess of five minutes.

11am: Hearing resumes with the prosecution calling its ninth witness, Umno Padang Serai division chief Asmadi Abu Talib, who is also a retired teacher. He was also the BN candidate in GE14 for the Merbau Pulas state seat in Kedah.

Asmadi testifies that he first became the division chief in 2013, and had received an RM50,000 cheque from Najib when he met the then Umno president in 2014.

The 50-year-old says he met Najib at Umno’s office in Putra World Trade Centre.

Asmadi says he spoke with Najib about his experience of being a division chief for the first time and discussed constraints in conducting party programmes for his division, including financial issues.

“Datuk Seri Najib then gave some advice to lift up my spirits, and then he handed over some contributions to assist my division to execute party plans,” he tells the court during examination by DPP Saifuddin.

Asmadi says the cheque was made payable to him and was later deposited into his Maybank account before being used to organise programmes for non-government organisations and associations.

11.30am: Asmadi testifies that the RM50,000 contribution Najib gave to the Padang Serai Umno division was not reflected in the division’s official account.

This was because the cheque had been made payable to him, not the division.

He says all leaders in the division’s management knew about the existence of the funds, and that it was meant for the use of Padang Serai Umno to conduct programmes. The funds were also used to hire lay teachers to conduct extra classes.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Shafee, Asmadi testifies that the contribution was managed in a transparent manner.

However, he says, the funds were not reflected in the division’s official account as it would have had to go through the annual general meeting and audit processes.

He also testifies that it was a normal practice for Umno divisions to receive contributions from the party headquarters, since the time when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was its president.

The witness was then relieved.

11.44am: The prosecution calls its tenth witness. Abu Talib Alias, secretary for Umno Johor Baru division since 2013, takes the stand.

11.47am: Talib says he received cheques from the Prime Minister’s Department in 2015.

11.50am: Talib got a call from the late Azlin Alias to come to the PM’s office in Putrajaya to collect a cheque. He told Shahril Samad (Johor Umno head) that he had been instructed to collect the cheque. He went on a Monday to collect the cheque.

11.53am: Talib says he saw Azlin, who handed an envelope with a cheque for RM300,000 made out to Umno Johor Baru division.

He banked in the cheque immediately in Maybank Putrajaya.

Azlin, senior private secretary to Najib, died in a helicopter crash in 2015.

Talib is asked to identify Najib in the courtroom.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

He then said, Apa malu bossku.

The courtroom laughs, including Najib.

12.25pm: Eleventh witness Abdul Munir Othman confirms receiving ab RM400,000 cheque for the trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak on Feb 12, 2015.

Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak describes itself on its website as a shelter for impoverished children and orphans in Pekan, Pahang. The shelter, which carries the name of Najib’s father, began operations in 2005.

Abdul Munir, who is one of the shelter’s four trustees, is responding to Saifuddin during the examination-in-chief.

“I received the cheque from Datuk Seri (Najib) – if I am not mistaken, from the Prime Minister’s Office or the Finance Ministry,” he says.

The 53-year-old explains that the money was used to pay salaries, food, maintenance, transport costs, among others, for the daily operations of the home.

He adds that Najib is the shelter’s patron.

Abdul Munir testifies that he was the one who suggested the RM400,000 amount.

He says that he would usually put in a request for contributions from Najib when the organisation exceeded its budget.

Ambank employee Badrul Hisam Mohamad had testified last week that there was an RM400,000 cheque transaction to the shelter from an Ambank account linked to Najib’s SRC International case.

After Saifuddin finishes his oral examination of the witness, defence counsel Harvinderjit makes a request to the court for the defence to continue with their cross-examination after lunch.

Judge Mohd Nazlan then adjourns the hearing.

2.40pm: Court starts later than expected, at 2.30pm. Proceedings were supposed to resume at 2pm.

As Justice Nazlan took his seat, Shafee’s son Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, who is part of Najib’s defence team informs the judge that the team is delayed as his father is stuck in another case, and apologises. The judge leaves the courtroom.

2.54pm: The court is still in recess due to Shafee and others being occupied with separate legal matters in another court.

At the moment, Najib can be seen sitting in a relaxed manner in the public gallery while waiting for proceedings to begin.

Before this, Nazlan had come into the court twice, first at 2pm and later at 2.30pm.

Each time, the judge was informed that the matter in the other court was still ongoing and that Najib’s main counsel remained occupied.

3.02pm: Proceedings resume with Harvinderjit commencing the cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness, who has been recalled.

3.10pm: Bank Negara Malaysia senior investigating officer Ahmad Farhan Shariffudin takes the stand again. He says he managed to retrieve two emails from his records. However, a voice recording and a phone conversation could not be retrieved.

Malaysiakini

3.20pm: Farhan says he was requested by MACC to handover the Blackberry to them in November 2015. He handed the phone to MACC officer Rosli Hussein.

Harvinderjit: What happened to Krystle Yap’s phone?

Farhan: I don’t know. I am not sure.

3.30pm: Harvinderjit asks Farhan to produce a search list of items confiscated in a raid on AmBank on July 6, 2015.

Farhan says a number of items were confiscated on that day, including one 10gb thumb drive from Daniel Lee, while two thumb drives, a 1tb hard drive, one Blackberry and one Samsung Galaxy 4 were all confiscated from AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu during the raid.

Farhan says emails were extracted from the items seized and other sources. He says all the emails that have been seized during the raid are placed in two folders.

4.05pm: The defence asks Nazlan to let Farhan go and come back to continue cross-examination on Wednesday as there is not enough time to go through all the emails in the folders today.

Shafee says they better proceed with witnesses that “are not so complicated” today and have Farhan come back another day. Nazlan agrees with no opposition from the prosecution.

4.15pm: The 12th prosecution witness Manisah Othman, 59, from the Department of Statistics Malaysia confirms receiving a cheque from Najib for RM13,800 under her name, to support her children’s education.

During examination-in-chief by Saifuddin, she testifies that she received the cheque after Najib visited her husband, who was warded in Prince Court Medical Centre.

Manisah says her husband had previously worked in Boustead Holdings before being seconded to work for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as a liaison officer.

She adds that her husband, Amiruddin Mohamad, died in 2013 a month after being hospitalised.

“Datuk Seri (Najib) promised to look after our children’s education,” she says, adding that the cheque was later given to her by a person named Khairul, who was a colleague of her late husband in the PMO.

Last week, Manisah had been named in AmBank employee Badrul Hisam Mohamad’s testimony as a recipient of a cheque issued from an Ambank account linked to Najib’s case.

The transaction in question involved an AmIslamic cheque for RM13,800 dated Feb 12, 2015.

Manisah says her husband had served as Najib’s private secretary when he was education minister.

After Najib was promoted to deputy prime minister, he had requested for her husband to work in his office till he became the prime minister.

Manisah says her husband had died of stage 4 intestinal cancer.

4.30pm: Shafee begins his cross-examination on Manisah.

Shafee: Were you asked to give a statement on this case?

Manisah: Three times, this year.

Shafee: Who is the officer that took your statement?

Manisah: I don’t remember.

Manisah testifies that her family also received two other cheques from Najib in 2013, the year her husband died, and 2014.

Answering a question from Shafee, she confirmed that she had received RM9,360 in funds from the then-premier in 2013.

She received another cheque for RM29,525 the next year.

According to Manisah, the cheques were used solely to pay the university fees of her two sons, now aged 27 and 23.

Both are yet to complete their studies, as the younger son is suffering from kidney disease, while his brother is also helping with treatment and intends to donate one of his kidneys.

Manisah testifies that in total, she received RM52,320 from Najib.

She says the cheques stopped coming in 2015. She believes it was because Najib did not know that her children had yet to finish their studies, and she had no direct access to him.

4.45pm: Manisah is let go by the courts.

4.50pm: The prosecution’s fifth witness, Badrul Hisham Mohamad, is back on the stand. Shafee asks to be excused as he has another matter to attend to and Nazlan allows it.

Badrul Hisham is the AmBank cheque-processing officer.

He is being asked again to mark and verify cheques which were made from Najib’s AmBank Islamic Account.

5.10pm: Badrul has been let go.

The defence asks Nazlan to begin proceedings at 1pm tomorrow as it has a matter in the Court of Appeal tomorrow.

Harvinderjit, however, asks that it start at 12pm and said tomorrow’s witnesses are more recipients of the monies from Najib’s accounts.

Nazlan agrees and adjourns the trial to tomorrow at 12pm.

It is understood that tomorrow’s Court of Appeal hearing is in relation to the defence’s bid to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in Najib’s 1MDB case.


Earlier reports:

Apr 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Five

Apr 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Four

Apr 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Three

Apr 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Two

Apr 3, Najib Trial: Day One