Defence counsel gleeful after seeing “absurd” charges against Najib.
Najib’s lawyer claims:
- “Foolish” charges fun for them, nightmare for prosecution
- Government funds diverted “to save the country”
“We’ll have fun and the prosecution will have nightmares,” says a confident Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the latest charges levelled at his client Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The former premier and former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah were slapped with six charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) on Thursday (Oct 25) amounting to more than RM6bil.
“As far as these six charges are concerned, we are looking forward to going to trial.
“The charges are foolish because it calls into question the executive decision-making process of the minister of finance and the secretary-general.
Shafie argued that his client made a decision to reallocate and re-prioritise the funds for more urgent matters.
“That does not mean the previous allocation remains vacant. It’s just a question of priority, which one you pay first.
“You can see the silliness of the charges. We are going to have fun,” he said when met outside the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on Thursday (Oct 25).
Shafie explained that two of the charges pertained to infrastructure projects, whereas the other four were payments to IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Compant).
“If you were to look at the first charge, on December 21 2017, in his capacity as the minister, there is an amount of RM1.2 billion belonging to the government.
“I’m sure Your Honour is baffled by what is this charge, because there are no particulars provided,” said Shafee.
He told the court he was informed the first two charges against Najib and Irwan involved land acquisitions for two projects involving a combined RM1.86 billion.
He argued that the action was a “re-prioritisation” of government spending at the time.
“My client believes that these two charges are wholly unfounded because the decision taken by him and Tan Sri Irwan Serigar was for the good of the nation, to prevent a trigger of default which would have been disastrous to the economy of Malaysia,” said Shafee.
“Charge number three to six are even more interesting. These are all in relation to the payment due to IPIC.
The decision by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to redirect government funds worth RM6.64 billion to repay 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) borrowings was made “to save the country”, said Shafee.
He confirmed in court today that his client had used the monies to repay 1MDB debt, including the US$1.2 billion borrowed from IPIC.
“All this was done in the sole interest of the nation. No personal benefit. No asset was benefited by my client or anyone else.
“All the six charges were purely to meet the obligation of the investment arm of the nation, 1MDB.
“The decision was made for the good of the public, to prevent a trigger of default [in 1MDB] that would be detrimental on the Malaysian economy,” he said.
Shafee said his client was looking forward to defending himself over these charges.
“We were quite happy when we saw the charges. My client, who thinks these charges are absurd and atrocious, is also looking forward to meeting the charges in full trial,” he said.
“I think the AGC (Attorney-General’s Chambers) ‘crafted’ these charges,” he told reporters.