Claims that ex-foundation chief’s evidence is hearsay.
The transfers of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd into Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank account were done on the behest by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, his defence team told the Court of Appeal today.
“It leads to the inference that the funds in SRC were misappropriated by other persons,” he said in his submissions before a three-member Court of Appeal bench led by Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
The two other judges on the bench were Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
“It also reveals that there was no act by Najib as an agent of SRC International, which caused any funds in the SRC accounts to be disbursed out,” he added.
As Harvinderjit continued to explain the evidence of Low’s control over the movement of the money, Justice Karim asked for the reason for Low to put money into Najib’s account.
In response to this, Harvinderjit said, “only Jho Low can answer the why”.
Earlier during proceedings today, Harvinderjit submitted that Low was involved in the convoluted monetary trail involving the accounts of SRC, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (GMSB), Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) and Najib.
The lawyer contended that Low and several others were involved in the monetary transfers involving Najib’s account and that the former premier had no knowledge about it.
The Court of Appeal was hearing Najib’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of SRC International funds.
On July 28 last year, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali convicted and sentenced Najib to 12 years’ imprisonment and fined him RM210 million over the SRC International criminal case.
The RM42 million, in three tranches of RM27 million, RM5 million, and RM10 million, were alleged to have been transferred from SRC and went through a convoluted trail to end up in Najib’s bank account.
Earlier, Harvinderjit said the testimony of a former executive of a charity foundation that Najib Razak’s then principal private secretary had asked to coordinate the transfer of RM42 million into Najib’s bank account was hearsay and inadmissible.
He said Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) chief executive officer Ung Su Ling’s testimony was disputed as her September 2014 meeting with Azlin Alias and his so-called instructions were relied on as evidence in the prosecution’s case.
The lawyer said the alleged December 2014 and February 2015 instructions to Ung from Azlin were purportedly from WhatsApp messages which had not been produced and admitted to have been disposed of.
“Neither the primary document (a mobile phone) nor WhatsApp messages were produced,” he said in his submission.
Azlin died in a helicopter crash in April 2015. Ung gave evidence in court in July 2019.
Harvinderjit said under cross-examination during the trial, Ung said she had deleted the messages and disposed of the phone as she wanted to “erase the painful memory”.
He said Mohd Nazlan relied on Ung’s evidence on her conversation with Azlin to link Najib to the charges arraigned against him.
This follows an earlier submission by Najib’s defence lawyer in the appeal hearing yesterday disputing the testimony of one of the trial’s key prosecution witnesses, former SRC International director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin (PW42).
Ung had testified that she met Azlin in September 2014 to discuss YR1M matters, as he was one of the foundation’s four trustees.
“Azlin told me that an undisclosed amount of money would be transferred to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd for corporate and social responsibility programmes.
“He asked for my assistance to inform the CEO of Ihsan Perdana (Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman) to transfer the money to an account,” she had said.
Ung said that in December 2015, Azlin informed her through WhatsApp that RM32 million had been transferred into Ihsan Perdana’s account. Another RM10 million was deposited into Najib’s account in February 2016.
She said she did not know who owned the accounts under AmPrivate Banking-MY and AmPrivate Banking-1MY.
However, Jalan Raja Chulan AmBank branch manager R Uma Devi had testified that those accounts were in Najib’s name.
Harvinderjit also submitted today that Najib’s accounts were manipulated by SRC chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Jho Low with the assistance of Ung, Terence (an executive in SRC) and Ambank officials, including its relationship liaison manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping.
“Low also came into the picture to handle Najib’s account because he had an operative in the form of Geh,” the lawyer said.
Earlier report: Apr 6, Shafee in appeal: Judge in Najib’s SRC trial erred