Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 15

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Revelations of the day include the testimony that no other company could get away as SRC did, which was without submitting required documentation and still obtaining a loan, and the bank did not alert Najib on suspicious transactions as that amounts to “tipping off”.

Chronology of Events:

8.52am: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas enters the court and takes a seat at the front with other members of the prosecution team as they await the commencement of proceedings.

9am: Clad in a grey suit, Najib enters the courtroom and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.

Yusof Mat Isa

Amirul Imran Ahmat, the 29th witness, is seen sitting in the witness stand while waiting to be cross-examined by Najib’s defence team once proceedings start.

9.08am: Members of the defence team, including lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, and his associate Harvinderjit Singh, start filling in the seats.

9.10am: Najib is seen entering the dock. Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then enters the court to start today’s hearing.

9.30am: Amirul and Harvinderjit continue to clash during cross-examination, reminiscent of yesterday’s proceedings.

The latest clash comes over the utilisation of the RM2 billion loan facility by KWAP to SRC in a manner that stretched beyond the initial agreement between the two entities.

Harvinderjit: If funds were released on the same day and the account shows crediting of funds, is it very difficult to determine unless they have a forensic audit report?

Amirul: It is not my job but it can be done.

Harvinderjit: This can be done via forensic audit?

Amirul: Among others.

Their clash continues over the issue of approval linked to the government guarantee for the RM2 billion loan. Harvinderjit tells the witness that the latter has changed his answer.

Harvinderjit: Yesterday you agreed. Now you change your answer.

Amirul: I am not agreeing with (the) earlier statement.

Harvinderjit: It is okay as you are changing your answer.

9.50am: Court takes a short break.

10.09am: Harvinderjit ends his cross-examination, saying he has no further questions for Amirul.

10.11am: DPP Ishak Mohd Yusoff re-examines Amirul.

10.18am: Ishak asks Amirul if throughout his time with KWAP, were there other companies which managed to obtain a loan like SRC without providing sufficient documents.

Amirul says no.

Ishak: If they did not submit (the documents), their applications would not be approved?

Amirul: Yes.

During the cross-examination, Amirul is also asked why he disagrees with Harvinderjit’s suggestion that what SRC does with funds from KWAP is not the latter’s business.

Amirul tells the court that the asset agreement between KWAP and SRC was “just a syariah method to facilitate syariah compliance”.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

He testifies that this was why the agreement was called between “financier and customer”.

The question by Ishak was in response to Harvinderjit’s question yesterday, in which the defence counsel put to Amirul that KWAP has no business knowing what SRC did with its funds.

Harvinderjit said this was because the entities had a syariah-based agreement under which SRC sold its asset to KWAP to secure a loan from the latter.

10.22am: Amirul is released and Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, Bank Negara investigating officer and the fourth witness is back in the stand.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

Farhan testifies that subsequent to a Bank Negara raid on AmBank Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015, the bank was fined over its failure to send a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to the central bank over transactions involving Najib’s accounts there.

Harvinderjit: In your investigation, was the bank fined?

Farhan: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Since it is directly related to your investigation, what was the infringement (by Ambank Raja Chulan branch in Kuala Lumpur)?

Farhan: It was for an offence of failure to submit Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) on Datuk Seri’s (Najib) accounts (at the commercial bank).

Harvinderjit: For which transaction was it?

Farhan: I cannot pinpoint a specific transaction.

Harvinderjit: Was it for (transactions) pre or post 2013?

Farhan: (Transactions from) opening and closing of the accounts. All transactions (in the period).

Farhan was involved in the raid on Ambank.

10.42am: Harvinder is done with questioning Farhan. Shafee takes over now.

10.55am: Shafee asks Farhan about the process Bank Negara’s investigation team deploys when a suspicious transaction is detected.

11.01am: Shafee says if AmBank had done its job to alert Bank Negara on the suspicious transactions, then his client (Najib) would have been alerted, too, thus making him aware of those transactions.

Shafee: Are you aware whether your department or any other department carried any additional investigation to determine if the transactions were suspicious?

Farhan: No.

Shafee reiterates that if AmBank had reported the suspicious transactions, then his client would have been alerted and the entire situation could have been avoided.

Shafee: Do you agree that if Ambank had done their job in filing the STR, my client (Najib) would have been alerted as early as 2015 or even earlier on any suspicious transaction?

Farhan: I disagree as that is tantamount to tipping off.

Shafee: If Ambank had alerted (Bank Negara) on the transactions, and they got hammered with a fine (by Bank Negara), then it is possible that Bank Negara investigation or any other enforcement agency like MACC or police would have to call the account holder (Najib) to explain these suspicious transactions?

Farhan: I have no comment as that is an inference question.

When Shafee presses on with a similar question, Farhan breaks out into exasperated laughter, eliciting chuckles from others present in the courtroom.

11.26am: Shafee asks Farhan to verify some documents and confirm which is a search paper.

Cross-examination of Farhan continues with Shafee grilling him over his method of keeping records of Bank Negara raid and probe against AmBank.

Shafee presses Farhan on investigation diary that the officer keeps detailing step-by-step of the probe.

Shafee: Do you keep an investigation diary when you investigate? When you investigate, you take a statement from witnesses, you recover documents, whatever you were doing, you have to keep an investigation diary. You can call it by other names. Do you have such documents? As a system?

Farhan: Yes (I do), (it is called) investigation diary.

Shafee: (Is it in) format as per the Criminal Procedure Code?

Farhan: No. I’m not aware of the format.

Shafee: (It is) required for investigation diary.

Farhan: I’m not aware of that.

Shafee: Under what provision you maintained the investigation diary? You must know. Because your investigation diary must have a borang number.

Farhan: Sorry I have no idea.

The witness tells the court that he had indeed kept an investigation diary, but it was not put as a part of his investigation paper.

Farhan says the document was in his personal keeping and agrees to Shafee’s question that the investigation diary was to make him less dependent on his memory.

The cross-examination then goes with Shafee asking Farhan about documents and handphones that were seized during Bank Negara raid on Ambank Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015.

Farhan testifies that the raiding party seized a total of 11 files from the bank, eight of which had been tendered in the court as evidence.

All the files had then been handed over to MACC, he says.

Shafee then asks Farhan on two handphones – a Blackberry and a Samsung – seized by the raiding team.

Farhan testifies that the Blackberry and a report of its analysis were handed over to MACC in August 2015.

He, however, does not know what happened to the Samsung handphone.

Shafee: Did you do forensics investigation before the handover (to MACC)?

Farhan: Personally no.

Shafee: Not personally, Bank Negara?

Farhan: I believe for the Blackberry, there was an instruction, because I saw Suzarizman handed over (the) report to MACC.

Shafee: They extracted information from the Blackberry before giving to MACC?

Farhan: Yes.

Shafee: Extracted info from two phones? One Blackberry, one Samsung?

Farhan: I’m not aware of Samsung

Shafee: From Blackberry?

Farhan: I saw the report.

The witness testifies that he saw the report and the items were given to MACC in Aug 2015 but did not keep a copy of the extraction report as “it was not necessary to my investigation”.

Farhan, to a question by Shafee, says he believed that Suzarizman would have the report in his keeping.

To this, Shafee goes on to ask the witness whether he would know why the report had yet to reach the defence team.

Shafee: You know why the report took so long to come? Why not coming to us now?

Farhan: I have no idea.

Shafee: You agree the report was generated from the raid. That’s what puzzled me. This was generated in 2015. Is there a reason for the delay?

There is no answer from Farhan before DPP Sithambaram interjects.

Shafee then asks Farhan if he would agree that the content of the Blackberry is important to be preserved.

Farhan:  “Yes”.

Shafee ends his questioning and Harvinderjit takes over.

11.50am: Harvinderjit and Farhan start a fiery exchange on whether the latter has the power to interview Najib in regards to the suspicious transactions seen in the former premier’s accounts at Ambank Raja Chulan up to 2015.

The lawyer asks Farhan on whether the latter, belonging to Bank Negara’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department, could have interviewed Najib over the transactions.

The suspicious transactions were found by Bank Negara when it raided the commercial bank on July 6, 2015. Farhan was involved in the raid.

The bank was later fined for failure to report the transactions to the central bank.

Harvinderjit: You could have interviewed the account holder (Najib)?

Farhan: No.

When the lawyer makes reference to Sections 14 and 20 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla) in regard to Bank Negara’s power of examination and investigation and equates to Farhan having the power to interview Najib over the transactions, the witness proceeds to correct him.

“We are talking about examining, not investigation, my learned counsel.

“Examining and investigating are two different things,” Farhan says, triggering laughter from those present in court.

Farhan says that he only has the power to investigate, not examine the account holder Najib over the matter.

11.53am: Harvinderjit keeps asking Farhan about the investigation of suspicious transactions.

DPP Sithambaram interrupts and ticks off Harvinderjit for asking the same question too many times.

Sithambaram requests a 10-minute break. Judge Nazlan grants it.

12.22pm: Halijah Abdul Wahab, Maybank assistant branch manager, is called to the stand. She is the 31st witness. Her job involves, among others, opening accounts for individuals and companies.

 

12.27pm: Halijah is questioned about Putra Perdana Sdn Bhd’s bank account no. 014011327183, and is verifying its bank statement for the January 2014-December 2015 period. She reads a statement for the July 2014-January 2015 period.

12.45pm: Prosecution’s Sulaiman Kho questions Halijah on the process of debit and transfer of funds from account holders.

Halijah verifies Permai Binary Sdn Bhd’s account statement for the July 2014-December 2015 period. Sulaiman questions the witness on account holders’ debit and transfer of funds.

She said clients usually instruct the bank on such transactions, and the order can be in the form of a fax or letter.

12.53pm: Halijah says there was an order by fax to transfer RM34.99 million from Putra Perdana Acc No. 014011327183 to Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd Acc No. 514012042754 on July 8, 2014.

1pm: Shafee requests for a break. Judge Nazlan said it’s not time for a break yet.

Shafee tells Nazlan that prayers start at 1.10pm. Nazlan replies that the mosque is just across the road, before allowing for 30-minute recess.

1.58pm: Court resumes after break with Halijah continuing her testimony.

2.04pm: Halijah confirms that a debit advice was received from Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd on July 14, 2014, to transfer RM105,000,002 to Putra Perdana Development.

2.11pm: Halijah says Maybank received an instruction letter from Putra Perdana Construction on July 31, 2014 to, transfer RM30 million to Putra Perdana Development.

The transaction was made on August 11, 2014. The transfer was made from Putra Perdana Construction (Acc No: 014011327183) to Putra Perdana Development (Acc No: 014011546000).

2.21pm: Halijah confirms that Putra Perdana Construction transferred RM140 million to SRC International on December 12, 2014. This transaction was made from Putra Perdana Construction’s Maybank account (014011327183) to SRC Internationl’s Ambank account (2112022010650) via cheque (No: 089042).

2.32pm: In another instruction letter dated January 7, 2015, Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd instructed Maybank to transfer RM3 million to Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd.

Halijah confirms from the debit advice that the transaction took place on the same date. That transaction was from Putra Perdana Construction Acc No: 014011327183 to Permai Binaraya Acc No: 514012042754.

2.44pm: On July 8, 2014, RM27 million was transferred from Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd (Acc No: 514012042754) to Najib’s ‘880’ account (Acc No: 2112022011880). Halijah says the bank received an instruction by fax on July 8, 2014. The hard copy letter was received on July 10, 2014. She says the sum was transferred back to Permai Binaraya on December 29, 2014.

2.53pm: Maybank was instructed on July 14, 2014, to transfer RM5 million from Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd (Acc No: 514012042754) to Putra Perdana Development (Acc No: 014011546000).

Halijah confirms the transaction based on debit advice. Transaction was done on the same date.

2.59pm: Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd ordered transfer of RM30 million on January 7, 2015, from Acc No. 514012042754 to SRC International (Acc No. 2112022010650). Transaction occurred on the same day via cheque no: 718602.

3.14pm: Halijah confirms a December 12, 2014, instruction to transfer RM110 million from Putra Perdana Development (Acc No: 014011546000) to Putra Perdana Constructions Sdn Bhd (Acc No: 014011327183). She confirms the transaction based on debit advice and that it occurred on the same day.

3.19pm: Halijah confirms another transaction on December 12, 2014, transferring RM30 million from Putra Perdana Development (Acc No: 014011546000) to Putra Perdana Constructions Sdn Bhd (Acc No: 014011327183).

3.30pm: Sulaiman ends verifying transactions, and Shafee begins cross-examination.

3.33pm: Shafee asks the witness for the account opening forms of Putra Perdana Construction, Putra Perdana Development and Permai Binaraya. Halijah says she will bring them tomorrow.

Shafee: Yang Ariff, I ask the witness to be released so that she can go back and secure the documents.

3.35pm: Court stands down and will resume at 8.45am tomorrow.


Earlier reports:

May 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 14

May 7, Najib Fails in Second Bid to Remove Sri Ram as 1MDB Lead Prosecutor

May 7, Najib Signed Guarantee Letter for RM2B KWAP Loan to SRC, KWAP Rules Breached

May 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 13

May 2, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 12

May 2, RM1M Golden Handshake in Final Month as PM for Najib

Apr 30, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 11

Apr 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 10

Apr 29, Court Throws Out Najib’s Application to Strike Out 7 SRC Charges, Trial to Go On

Apr 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Nine

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Eight

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Seven

Apr 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Six

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