Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 31

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Ex-SRC director changed MACC statement several times regarding his alleged signatures on a total of 17 banking instructions.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

9.03am: Former prime minister Najib Razak takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery.

He is seen conferring with his defence lawyers Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh.

Also seen in court is deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram and other members of the prosecution.

9.07am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

9.12am: The defence team has technical difficulties with its projector screen.

9.26am: Former SRC International director Suboh Md Yassin takes the stand. The defence resumes with asserting that Suboh’s signatures were forged by then SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

9.29am: Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is showing Suboh that there are two iterations of his signatures. One that is identical with Suboh’s sample signature and another one with distinct differences to the sample signature.

These samples are overlaid onto SRC and Gandingan Mentari documents, which Suboh himself purportedly signed between 2014 and 2015.

The witness then agrees that the signature samples are not similar to those on the documents, which include instructions to AmIslamic Bank to transfer monies between SRC, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.

Shafee: Notice the hard copy and your signature (sample) that we superimposed (put on top each other)?

Suboh: It’s different.

Shafee: Completely different, you agree?

Suboh: Right.

9.50am: Suboh agrees to a suggestion by Shafee that he could not have signed 17 documents related to transfer of monies between SRC, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana between 2014 and 2015.

This contradicts his telling the prosecution yesterday that he signed the bank documents himself.

Shafee: I want to draw some conclusions. All the scanned copies, many of them, carry your signature. But they are scanned (copies of your signature). Somebody lifted your signature, cut and paste it on documents, and sent it to the bank. They carry your signature but you did not sign those documents. 17 times. You could not sign identically, you agree?

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: You didn’t sign the scanned copies?

Suboh: [Agrees]

Shafee: This means you didn’t sign any of the Rentas (real-time electronic transfer of funds and securities) forms, which is evidence in this case. You signed none of them.

Suboh: Then who did?

Shafee: We will get to that. Your CEO (former SRC CEO Nik Faisal) is most likely the candidate. But you didn’t sign (these documents)?

Suboh: Yes.

Earlier, Suboh agreed that his signatures on the hard copies of instructions to AmIslamic Bank for the money transfers could have been forged.

The witness admitted to this when Shafee asked him to compare the signature samples he produced in court yesterday to those on the bank documents.

10.05am: Shafee tries to corner Suboh into admitting that he was coached into signing 17 AmIslamic Bank documents between 2014 and 2015.

Shafee begins by pointing out that Suboh told the prosecution yesterday that he signed the documents himself.

The lawyer then tries to get Suboh to agree that he must be able to recognise his own signature.

Shafee: I ask you this. Answer truthfully. I’m going to put you in a more comfortable position. I’m saying you can’t not have recognised your own signature.

Suboh: Can you repeat that again?

Shafee: You can’t not have recognised your own signature. This means you must be able to recognise your own signature.

Suboh: Yes, correct.

Shafee: And you did not make any mistake (when saying) that the hard copy is not your signature?

Suboh: Correct.

Shafee: Who asked you to admit the hard copies contain your signatures? Who put you up to it? Be careful with your answer. You are in a court of law. I ask again. Who put you up to it? Why did you admit (these were your signatures)?

Suboh: I was never put up to such an admission.

Shafee: Are you sure?

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: Did you not, after the election, did you not say to the MACC officer, “These are not my signatures”? Did you not say that?

Suboh: I cannot remember.

Shafee: Come on, this is not an event you can simply say “cannot remember”. This is when your statement was recorded by the MACC.

Suboh: I cannot remember.

Shafee: If you look at your own statement, would your memory be refreshed

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: Would you like to see (the statement)?

Suboh: Can.

Shafee then makes an application to allow the witness to have his memory refreshed by referring to the statement he gave the MACC in 2018.

10.20am: Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allows a bid from the defence for the statement given to the MACC by Suboh in 2018 be produced in court.

11.15am: Court is in recess as the prosecution requests time to retrieve Suboh’s statements to the MACC.

12.34pm: Proceedings resume.

12.34pm: DPP V Sithambaram addresses the judge and apologises for the delay.

1.20pm: The prosecution makes a submission to Nazlan that the witness only read selected excerpts from his statement in 2015.

However, the defence objects, arguing the witness should be allowed to read his own full statement, instead of excerpts.

“I allow after the break that the statement be given to witness to read, and to tell the court whether a certain (relevant) portion can be highlighted,” Nazlan rules.

1.33pm: Proceedings break for lunch and will resume at 2.45pm.

2.59pm: Proceedings resume.

3pm: Suboh says he had the chance to go through his 2018 and 2015 statements.

Shafee asks him if the signatures on Rentas forms from SRC to Gandingan Mentari are his.

Suboh says those signatures are not his. He gave the same answer twice to MACC officers on different occasions.

3.05pm: Suboh reiterates that signatures on Rentas forms bearing his name for monetary transactions from SRC to Gandingan Mentari are not his.

He also does not recall signing any such documents.

3.07pm: Suboh says he left Malaysia to go to Jakarta with his wife on May 9, 2018.

He says he only went to Jakarta and came back on the 27 or 28 in the same month.

3.10pm: Suboh says while he was in Jakarta, he noticed that he had a travel ban issued against him.

He immediately contacted the MACC and cooperated with them. He says he called the MACC to get the ban lifted. The MACC officer told him to return to Malaysia.

Shafee asks if he is under the MACC witness protection. Suboh says he is not aware of any witness protection as reported in the media.

Suboh says he continues to stay in his house as per normal and does not know if he is being guarded by MACC officers.

When he came back, Suboh says he met with MACC officers and claims he did not negotiate any deals with them.

He is not sure if his travel ban is still in effect.

3.13pm: Shafee asks him what made him check about his travel validity when he was in Jakarta.

Shafee: What made you look at whether you were travel banned when you were in Jakarta?

Suboh: It is like this – I spoke to my son who was in Malaysia. My son asked me to check my passport as he knew that I was on a travel ban.

3.25pm: Suboh says the MACC showed him 13 Rentas fund transfers from SRC to Gandingan Mentari, and Gandingan Mentari to Ihsan Perdana. In his statement recorded last year, he said the signatures on the forms were not his. In 2015, he said the signatures were his, but after the general election last year, he changed his statement to say someone had forged his signature.

He says he does not remember signing the Rentas forms and the signatures varied from his.

3.30pm: He says the same thing about three Rentas forms for funds to be transferred from SRC to Putra Perdana. He says he does not know how his signature was used without his knowledge.

3.33pm: He says he knows his signature, and that is not his signature. He says when the MACC took his statement in Abu Dhabi in 2015, he did not have time to examine the Rentas forms. He adds that Nik Faisal was contacting him often during that period in 2015.

3.40pm: Suboh reiterates that he was never shown the Rentas transfer forms, but knew that the money going out from SRC to Gandingan Mentari and Putra Perdana was for CSR work, to help flood victims in the east coast.

4.27pm: Suboh says he would not have committed to letting the money flow out if he had known about and was shown the Rentas forms.

Harvinderjit: This means that your signature had been cut and pasted on those forms?

Suboh: That’s what plausibly happened.

4.53pm: Harvinderjit asks Suboh if the board ever made a formal resolution stating that it has appointed Najib as SRC adviser emeritus.

Suboh says no, the board did not appoint the then prime minister as such.

He says the board had never written to the adviser emeritus to seek his advice. He adds that the board never had meetings with the adviser emeritus.

Najib never gave advice to the board, he says.

5pm: Suboh testifies that Najib never informed the company’s board that Faisal was the point of contact between the company and the then premier.

Harvinderjit: At no point in time did Najib inform the (SRC) board in writing or orally that Nik Faisal is the contact point?

Suboh: Correct.

According to Suboh’s statement to the MACC, which is read by Shafee in court and confirmed by the witness, Suboh then once again makes a U-turn and admits that all the banking papers were indeed signed by him.

Confronted by Shafee over these contradicting statements, Suboh then tells the court that he might have been able to give a better answer to the MACC then if he were shown comparisons of the signatures, similar to what Shafee did in court since yesterday.

Shafee: So you are saying if you were shown (the signatures) like the way I showed you, you could have given a better answer (then)?

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: Now you are clear that these transfer documents – from SRC to Gandingan Mentari, and then from Gandingan Mentari to Ihsan Perdana – were never signed by you?

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: Now you accept with this demonstration, you accept that you could not have signed (the documents)?

Suboh: Yes, especially the same (identical) signatures (on scanned copies of banking instructions).

5.09pm: Suboh says Faisal told the board that he had a meeting with Najib and the board then decided to take action based on the minutes of the said meeting.

Suboh describes Faisal as having been “emboldened” due to having “somebody behind him”.

“He (Faisal) is emboldened by his position. He is CEO of a company. A very powerful person, the number two.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

“He is emboldened because he has somebody behind him. Like the Chinese saying, ‘Mountain behind him’.”

Suboh is replying to Harvinderjit’s question on whether Faisal had lied to the board of SRC about having links to Najib.

5.18pm: DPP Ishak Mohd Yusoff claims that Najib’s defence strategy involves giving a running commentary that confuses the witness.

“From day one, the cross-examination has been (giving) a running commentary and then asking questions.

“Why not just ask specific questions, instead of a running commentary that confuses the witness?” Ishak tells Justice Nazlan.

This follows a heated disagreement between the defence and the prosecution over whether to allow Suboh to explain his answers.

Earlier, as Suboh attempted to elucidate a statement, Harvinderjit cut him off, eliciting an angry response from DPP Sithambaram.

“Let him answer. This is unfair, this is an old gentleman whose answers (the defence is) trying to cut off,” Sithambaram said sharply to Harvinderjit.

Nazlan agrees that the witness should be allowed to speak uninterrupted.

The judge then allows proceedings to adjourn for the day and to continue at 9am tomorrow.

Earlier reports:

July 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 30

June 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 29

June 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 28

June 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 27

June 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 26

June 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 25

June 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 24

June 12, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 23

June 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 22

June 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 21

May 28, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 20

May 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 19

May 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 18

May 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 17

May 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 16

May 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 15

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