Najib’s unwillingness to allow anyone to get involved with SRC’s funds implied a strong personal interest within the firm.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s refusal to allow a government delegation to verify the status of some RM3.6 billion belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds frozen in Switzerland was highly questionable and implied a personal interest within the firm, the Court of Appeal heard today.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said this in rebuttal to Najib’s appeal hearing against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriating RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
Sithambaram cited the evidence by former second finance minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, who was the 56th prosecution witness (PW56), as proof of Najib’s unwillingness to allow anyone to get involved with SRC International’s funds that had been frozen by Swiss authorities for alleged money-laundering offences in 2013.
Ahmad Husni previously testified that he met with Najib and sought the latter’s permission to bring a delegation comprised of the Finance Ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to clarify the matter with the Swiss authorities between 2015 and 2016.
SRC International previously obtained two loans totalling RM4 billion from KWAP through two Government Guarantees that Najib had signed off as prime minister and finance minister during two Cabinet meetings held in August 2011 and February 2012.
During the criminal trial, Najib had testified that he prevented Husni from going there in 2016, as the latter should have presented a formal plan first.
The former premier also testified then that SRC was dealing with the issue, thus having no need for Husni to go to Switzerland.
“The evasive answers of the appellant (Najib during the SRC trial at the High Court) showed the appellant did not want anyone to get involved in the frozen SRC funds in Switzerland.
“His action of wanting a proper plan but not even suggesting one to PW56 (56th prosecution witness Husni) seems absurd.
“It is the appellant who was instrumental in securing the RM4 billion loan to SRC and the GG (government guarantees for the RM4 billion loan to SRC from KWAP) which resulted in RM3.6 billion funds ending up in Switzerland.
“It is submitted that the appellant only allowed SRC to deal with the Swiss authorities so that the appellant had control of the SRC funds,” the DPP submitted.
The issue of Najib’s alleged personal interest is critical in one of his seven charges, namely the charge of abuse of power under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009.
The other charges are three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering in relation to RM42 million of funds from SRC.
The bench was chaired by Court of Appeal judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil. The other members were judges Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Has Zanah Mehat.
In another incident, the lawyer said a letter by SRC’s CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to apply for the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) loan was curiously addressed to Najib instead of KWAP.
“SRC did not go through the proper process of applying directly to KWAP as the lender.
“SRC’s letter written directly to the ex-prime minister for the loan instead of KWAP showed that the loan approval was being secured with the help of the appellant.”
Sithambaram said the letter was later handed over to KWAP’s CEO Azian Mohd Noh by Najib.
The approval of the loan was premeditated and sanctioned by the appellant as prime minister or finance minister even before KWAP had investigated the merits of SRC’s loan application.”
Last year, Najib testified at the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he received RM2.6bil donation from the Saudi royal family, between 2011 and 2014.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of position, involving RM42mil in SRC International funds.
The hearing of the appeal continues.