Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 63

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Court adjourns early as Najib caught in traffic jam.

9.04am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to await proceedings to begin.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and other DPPs as well as members of the former prime minister’s defence team are also in court.

Also seen in court and conferring with Najib are Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan and Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam.

9.23am: Najib enters the witness stand as proceedings begin with Thomas resuming cross-examination.

Also seen in the courtroom is the accused’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

9.40am: The proceeding starts with Thomas asking Najib about his handwritten notes on four letters.

Thomas then moves to a series of questions to get Najib to confirm details on formal documents related to SRC International.

These include a letter of appointment for seven SRC directors dated Aug 1, 2011; the company’s memorandum and articles of association dated Jan 4, 2011; and letters and emails dated June and July 2011 which documented SRC’s two loan applications to borrow monies from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

To these questions, Najib confirms the dates of the documents.

Thomas immediately corners the politician on the fact that SRC had made decisions to apply for loans from KWAP in June and July when the members of its board of directors were only appointed in August that year.

Thomas: You would agree these seven documents signifying decisions relating to SRC, (were) done before directors were appointed on Aug 1, 2011. All were before the appointment of the directors. That is a fact.

Najib: Formal appointment. But they may have been suggested by the lembaga pengarah (board of directors). I have to check on that. But the formal appointment was on Aug 1.

Thomas: You said on many occasions when I asked about your role as chairperson of SRC board of advisers, your standard answer yesterday was that all the steps taken (by SRC) were upon the advice of the board of directors of SRC. You remember that?

Najib: Yes. If the advice was sought by the board.

Thomas: How could you have received such advice relating to these seven documents P356 to P372 when the board of directors was non-existent?

Najib: It must have been forwarded by the CEO back then.

Thomas then puts it to Najib that all the decisions had been made personally on his directives.

Najib disagrees to the suggestion.

9.45am: Najib disagrees with Thomas’ assertion that SRC amounted to the “prime minister’s company”(syarikat perdana menteri).

The accused makes this denial during cross-examination when Thomas refers to previous testimony by the 41st prosecution witness Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz, who was the Finance Ministry’s Strategic Investment Division deputy secretary.

Thomas: She testified that as far as she was concerned, SRC was the ‘prime minister’s company’.

Najib: I disagree with that.

Thomas: That was how she and her colleagues saw SRC.

Najib: It has nothing to do with me owning the company.

Thomas: You do not agree with the characterisation given by one of your staff that SRC was the prime minister’s company?

Najib: Disagree.

10.29am: Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali overrules the defence’s objection against the prosecution’s cross-examination of Najib in relation to disputed documents.

The judge issues the ruling following heated submissions and counter-submissions between Shafee and DPP V Sithambaram as well as Thomas.

Shafee says the prosecution should not be allowed to question the accused over the documents.

The documents in question include one that purportedly involved the accused being nominated as a corporate representative of 1MDB vis-a-vis SRC International.

“The witness has been asked over and over again (over the documents) he disputes the signature (on said documents).

“But here (the prosecution) going on asking him (Najib). This is a disputed matter and it should end here,” Shafee says, adding that parties are also set to submit applications over a related matter later.

It was previously reported that the defence will file an application to allow an Australian handwriting expert to examine documents that purport to have Najib’s signatures.

Many of these documents were tendered by the prosecution, prior to the court ruling on Nov 11 that Najib must enter his defence in the RM42 million SRC International case.

10.50am: Najib testifies that the process to table the government guarantee for SRC’s RM2 billion loan to the Cabinet in 2011 was rushed because there was an investment opportunity waiting for the company.

He says this when answering a question by Thomas, who asks him why the need for a Cabinet paper on the matter was done in two days, as per the testimony by previous witnesses involved in the process.

Thomas: I understand that if the government, when whichever ministry has an emergency, (for example) something just happens on a Monday when (the next) Cabinet meeting is on Tuesday, everyone has to burn the midnight oil. That’s how governments all over the world work.

My question is, what was the emergency and need to rush the government guarantee for RM2 billion loan for SRC? Why did you regard this as of great importance?

Najib: SRC was set up because there was a need for it, from the perspective of the country’s (economic) strategies. And this was supported by the Economic Planning Unit.

(The rush was) because they said there was an investment opportunity, thus there was a need to work on SRC funding. That was why this was done (hurriedly).

And I want to state here that it was not unusual for the need of any companies to be worked on in such a short period of time.

10.52am: The court takes a short break.

TMI

11.19am: Court resumes.

11.30am: Thomas ask Najib about the first RM2 billion KWAP loan to SRC.

Thomas tells the court that witness Wedani Senan, then AmBank remittance department manager testified that the RM2 billion was credited to SRC’s AmBank account in four tranches (RM500 million each transaction).

He asks Najib’s knowledge in this.

Najib says it is related to operations and he doesn’t know about it.

“This is operational. I don’t know about operational. I only know about government guarantee,” says Najib.

11.27am: Najib denies Thomas’ assertion that the former premier cooked up a scheme for SRC to obtain billions of ringgit of monies.

Thomas: I put it to you that from Aug 24, 2010, when the genesis of SRC was discussed, until its disbursement on Aug 29, 2011, that it (SRC) was a scheme that Datuk Seri (Najib) designed?

 

Najib: I disagree with the use of the word “designed”.

Thomas: Its (SRC) whole design was to ensure that SRC had RM2 billion of monies for disbursement?

Najib: Disagree.

It was reported that SRC obtained a total of RM4 billion from KWAP between late 2011 and early 2012.

Najib also disagrees with Thomas’ assertion that the speed of disbursement of the first tranche of RM2 billion (in late 2011), following the Cabinet approval of the government guarantee for the loan, was due to his personal involvement in the matter.

11.40am: Najib tells the court that evidence marked as ID499, which was a meeting minute dated Sept 7, 2011, was not signed by him.

IDD499 is a minute purportedly from a four-eyed meeting between Najib and the then CEO of SRC, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, on the said date.

Faisal had allegedly used the minute to brief SRC board members during a board meeting on Sept 13, 2011, claiming the content was what had been discussed with Najib.

The prosecution had previously tried to admit it as evidence but was rejected due to objection from the defence team. It was then admitted as ID.

Under normal practice, an item marked as ID cannot have its contents ventilated in court proceedings.

“I did not sign (this minute),” Najib claims.

According to the politician, most of his meetings with Nik Faisal were not minuted.

12.06pm: Thomas asks if Najib was at all aware that sometime in September or October 2011, monies were moved to Hong Kong.

Najib says no.

The defence objects to the line of question.

Thomas: Are you saying that shortly after the government guarantee was given, you were no longer interested in matters related to SRC?

Najib: These are operational matters.

12.13pm: Thomas asks Najib if he asked SRC’s board what happened to the first KWAP loan, when a second government guarantee was requested?

Najib: Yes, I asked.

Thomas: Did you ask where the money was?

Najib: I didn’t ask where the money was, but they said there were some investment plans for this (new loan).

Thomas: Although you didn’t know, you were prepared to support?

Najib: Yes.

Najib says SRC wanted the second loan because the first one was insufficient for investments.

12.38pm: As Najib disputes the signatures on the minutes of shareholders’ meeting, Thomas asks if he had ever signed any of these documents.

Thomas: To the best of your memories, you never signed any of these (minutes of shareholders’ meeting)?

Najib: Never.

Najib says his signature could be forged.

Najib: If it’s forged, then it will look like mine.

Thomas: You never ever signed a minute like this (referring to the minutes of the shareholders’ meeting)?

Najib: Never.

12.55pm: Court adjourns for lunch.

2.39pm: Court resumes after lunch.

2.47pm: Thomas asks Najib if the decision to take the second KWAP loan was his, and whether the SRC board of directors endorsed it. Najib disagrees.

2.55pm: Thomas says for the first loan, KWAP held a special meeting, but only a general meeting was called for the second loan, which was “pre-approved”. He asks whether Najib was the “decision-maker” for the second loan.

Thomas: As far as KWAP is concerned, the real decision-maker for this loan was you?

Najib: I disagree.

2.56pm: Najib agrees with Thomas’ assertion that the theme of the former prime minister’s defence is his non-involvement in the micro-management of SRC’s operations.

The accused says this during cross-examination by Thomas.

Thomas: The theme of your testimony is that you are not involved in (SRC) micro-management?

Najib: Correct.

When Thomas asks whether Najib was keeping an eye on the RM4 billion total loaned by the KWAP to SRC, Najib replies “Yes, but I would not know unless somebody else informs me what happened, that is not desirable, that does not comply with good governance.

3.08pm: Thomas tells Najib that the second loan was disbursed in a single payment on March 23, 2012. He asks when Najib was informed about it.

Najib says he cannot remember but added that everything was done according to process.

Thomas asks again if Najib was personally informed about the disbursement.

Thomas: When were you personally informed?

Najib: I don’t remember.

3.35pm: Najib says there was already an earlier delegation by 1MDB to check what happened to the RM3 billion frozen in Switzerland, which was from the RM4 billion loan that KWAP lent to SRC.

He says this to Thomas on former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah’s testimony that Najib told him not to interfere in 1MDB, among others.

“The application (by Husni) was not formal, it was made at the spur of the moment. I was told that there was an earlier delegation that went there on behalf of 1MDB, including an auditor. They were satisfied with what they found in the visit,” Najib says.

Thomas: You did not want Husni to go to Switzerland as you were concerned he may discover that the money had been stolen?

Najib: Not true.

Thomas: I put it to you that you did not want your cover blown by a minister in your Cabinet going to Switzerland?

Najib: No.

3.45pm: Thomas suggests that Putrajaya gave two government guarantees for loans totalling RM4 billion because it was pushed by Najib.

Najib: When SRC was first formed with the support of the Economic Planning Unit, it must have enough funds. So, that was why the government agreed and approved the government guarantees.

Thomas: Even today, your answer is a cover.

Najib: I disagree.

3.50pm: Najib and Thomas clash over the latter’s allegation that Najib did nothing to find out what happened to the RM4 billion KWAP lent to SRC.

Thomas asks Najib whether he summoned SRC’s five directors to find out what happened to the RM4 billion.

Najib: I did not summon the directors. I instructed the (SRC’s) management to take action.

Thomas: You did nothing.

Najib: Totally wrong (raises voice).

Thomas: You did not take any step to prevent the government guarantee from being called (for the RM4 billion loan)?

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

Najib: Not true. SRC was supposed to do it, it is in black and white (in a louder voice).

3.59pm: Thomas tells the court that on November 4, 2015, there was a memo from the Cabinet on the government’s nod for a short-term RM100 million loan because of the freeze on SRC’s money in Switzerland.

He says SRC had cash-flow problems within 3½ years of the RM4 billion loans being granted.

Thomas: In 3½ years, the RM4 billion (must have) vanished for SRC, for them to have cash-flow issues.

Najib: I don’t know how much was frozen in Switzerland, but if the funds were frozen by the Swiss government, it means there’s money in the account.

4.02pm: Thomas informs the court that he has finished his part in cross-examining Najib, and the second part would be taken over by his fellow DPPs.

However, Thomas says the prosecution need to discuss matters pertaining to the next examination part with the defence team in Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s chambers.

He did not specify what is the nature of the discussion.

The judge then allows the request, and orders for a short break while the counsels head into his chambers.

4.13pm: Court takes a break.

4.38pm: Court is back in session. However, Najib is nowhere to be seen.

4.41pm: Shafee, after making a call to Najib, tells the judge that his client is stuck in traffic in Jalan Tun Razak.

Shafee then informs the court that Najib had misunderstood the short break as an adjournment of the proceedings today and left.

According to Shafee, his client could not return in time as he had already reached Jalan Tun Razak and was caught in the traffic jam there.

The lawyer then apologises for the misunderstanding.

“So, my client misunderstood and he has left and got caught in (a jam) in Jalan Tun Razak. With your consent, he would be present at 9am (when the court resumes next Wednesday),” says Shafee.

The judge then reminds Shafee not to allow such an incident to happen again.

4.45pm: Nazlan allows application by the prosecution to vacate the trial dates for Thursday, next Monday and Tuesday.

This follows a request by DPP V Sithambaram who indicates that he needs more time to study Najib Abdul Razak’s witness statement.

He says the prosecution did not have enough time to study the statement, which has a total of 243 pages, as it was served by the defence shortly before its examination on Najib last week.

Nazlan then orders for the trial to resume next Wednesday. He also orders for the case management for the trial to be done on the same day to determine the next dates for the trial.

4.56pm: Nazlan allows the prosecution’s request that the hearing be adjourned to next Wednesday at 9am.


Earlier reports:

Dec 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 62

Dec 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 61

Dec 9, RM500K Birthday Watch for Rosmah, RM3.3M Jewellery Gift for Ex-Qatar PM’s Wife

Dec 5, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 60

Dec 3, Najb’s SRC Trial: Day 59

Dec 3, Najib’s Day in Court

Aug 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 58

Aug 23, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 57

Aug 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 56

Aug 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 55

Aug 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 54

Aug 14, SRC Trial Postponed as Najib Down with Sore Eyes

Aug 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 52

Aug 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 51

Aug 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 50

Aug 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 49

Aug 5, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 48

Aug 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 47

July 31, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 46

July 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 45

July 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 44

July 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 43 Vacated

July 23, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 42

July 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 41

July 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 40

July 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 39

July 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 38

July 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 37

July 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 36

July 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 35

July 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 34

July 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 33

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 32

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 31

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