Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 64

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Najib tells the High Court that he cannot be responsible for whatever that goes wrong in his bank accounts managed by others, and that he didn’t know about transactions or the source of millions in his AmBank accounts.

Shafwan Zaidon

9.05am: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is seen sitting at the front row of the Kuala Lumpur High Court public gallery, waiting for proceedings to begin.

Also seen in court is DPP V Sithambaram, who is set to cross-examine the accused over his 243-page prepared witness statement.

9.10am: Former treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah is seen sitting at the front row of the public gallery.

He is waiting for mention of the 1MDB-linked RM6.64 billion IPIC case against him and Najib.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will attend to the IPIC case mention first before dealing with Najib’s RM42 million SRC International trial.

9.32am: Najib’s lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is not seen in judge Nazlan’s High Court.

It is understood that Shafee is attending to a separate criminal case involving himself at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex before he could come to Najib’s SRC trial.

9.55am: Court is in session.

9.56am: Lawyers for the IPIC trial have requested for trial dates to be vacated to ensure the SRC case is prioritised.

10.05am: Shafee requests for a five-minute break before continuing with the SRC case.

Request is granted.

10.12am: Najib enters the witness stand as his SRC trial begins.

Sithambaram tells him the questions will be in English.

Sithambaram asks Najib how his witness statement was prepared.

Najib says his lawyers asked him questions and he answered them.

Sithambaram asks Najib if he was shown all documents related to the case.

Najib says not all documents were shown to him but lawyers referred to the contents of the documents.

Sithambaram: How many lawyers took your statement?

Najib: Three to four.

Sithambaram: Can you name them?

Najib: Harvinderjit, Farhan, Wan Aizuddin and at times, Tan Sri Shafee.

Sithambaram: How long did it take to prepare the statement?

Najib: It took a long time because we have other cases like 1MDB. So, we did it during intervals and sometimes at night. So, roughly three weeks.

Sithambaram: Were all the answers in the statement yours or given input by the lawyers?

Najib: Answers are mine, but I discussed them with my lawyers.

Sithambaram: So, you accept full responsibility for the answers given in the statement?

Najib: I have signed it.

Sithambaram: I know you signed it, but do you accept the responsibilities for the statement?

After a long silence and flipping over the papers, Najib agrees.

Najib testifies that he will lodge a police report after a handwriting expert has examined documents containing his forged signatures.

He says this during cross-examination by Sithambaram to the question on why no police report was lodged over the alleged forged signatures on documents linked to the SRC case.

Najib: I want to call for a handwriting expert first before making a police report.

Sithambaram: You are still not sure if it is forged?

Najib: I am quite sure they were forged, but I want to be certain. That is the reason I made an application to call for the (handwriting) expert to make an in-depth examination (of the documents).

It was reported that Najib’s defence team is seeking for a handwriting expert from Australia to come and examine the veracity of Najib’s alleged signatures on key documents linked to the case.

10.35am: The court sees Najib and Sithambaram engaging in a verbal sparring match over Najib’s signatures on documents related to SRC.

This happens as Najib refuses to give straight answers to Sithambaram’s questions, including when the lawyer poses yes-or-no questions to him.

Sithambaram’s line of questioning goes into the issue of Najib disputing his signatures on the documents.

The DPP puts to Najib that it was only an afterthought as he had confirmed them during questioning by MACC.

Najib, however, denies that this was the case.

Sithambaram: When you were shown the photocopy (during MACC’s investigation), you confirmed the signatures without any reservation at that stage.

Najib: At that stage.

Sithambaram: After sitting in court and hearing cross-examinations by your lawyers as an afterthought you are saying these are not your signatures.

Najib: No, I disagree.

Sithambaram: I find it very curious. You cannot see that it is forged but you want somebody else to point it out to you. Very curious.

Sithambaram: Those doubts of your signature being forged only appeared in court?

Najib: Yes. Because I wasn’t shown original documents.

Sithambaram: So, you agree with me that you were shown a photocopy when the statement was taken. That time you couldn’t identify?

Najib: At that that time, the signature was as if it was mine.

Sithambaram: I think attempts to call the Australian expert is to booster the untruthful evidence or forgery.

Najib: No.

Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, facing a serious charge, a person in your position, did you send the documents at that time to the handwriting expert to confirm your signature?

Najib: At that time, no.

10.59am: Referring to the documents that Najib is disputing, Sithambaram says it is only now that they are being challenged for forgery.

Sithambaram: This is only being challenged now. Before this, your lawyers only said the documents were not original, the maker (Najib) was not called and there is no evidence of execution. There was nothing on forgery.

Najib: I have to consult my lawyers.

11.01am: Najib says he only had his doubts that the documents were forged when the prosecution witnesses were being examined.

Sithambaram: You are in court now objecting to the documents on various basis?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: You say the original is not produced, which you knew at the time the statement was taken.

Najib: I knew it was not original but didn’t know the significance of it.

Sithambaram: Based on this, when the photocopy document was shown by the MACC, you confirmed to them that the documents was signed by you?

Najib: I had my doubts.

Sithambaram: You kept your doubts to yourself?

Najib: I was not sure at that time.

Sitham: Did you ask for the original to be shown?

Najib: No.

11.10am: The court hears from Najib that only the persons who handled his bank accounts would be alerted if there was an alarm on suspicious transactions.

Najib says this when being asked by Sithambaram about the reversal of RM32 million from his accounts in 2015, purportedly to repay loans from Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd and Putra Perdana Sdn Bhd.

Sithambaram: If RM32 million comes into and then leaves your account, that will be something that will ring alarm bells?

Najib: To those who managed my accounts. Because I did not manage my own accounts.

11.20am: Sithambaran shows Najib some documents related to his AmBank accounts and confirming the signatures on them.

11.25am: Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh argues the line of questions posed by Sithambaram to Najib.

Sithambaram says Harvinderjit likes to make an impression each time he is in court.

“You came late, so you want to make an impression,” says Sithambaram.

Sithambaram says he has gone through the questions with Najib in a very polite manner.

Sithambaram also advises Harvinderjit to come early to court.

“Next time, come early.”

11.33am: Najib confirms that his cheque books and bank statements from AmBank would not be posted but hand collected by former SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

11.45am: Najib keeps saying that documents were forged, to which Sithambaram asks him to show those forged documents.

Sithambaram: Which are the documents that are forged?

Najib: You have to show me the documents.

Sithambaram: Do you mean all the minutes of shareholders? So, you are saying that all those documents are forged?

Najib: We want the expert to confirm.

Sithambaram: Why must an expert confirm them? Can’t you even confirm your own signature?

Najib reiterates that an expert must confirm them.

After a short silence, Sithambaram proceeds with the next question.

11.53am: Court takes a short break.

12.11pm: Court is in session.

12.24pm: Najib tells the High Court that he cannot be responsible for whatever that goes wrong in his bank accounts managed by others.

This is because he has delegated his authority to others.

He says this during cross-examination by Sithambaram, who asks whether the accused can be personally responsible for what goes wrong in the AmBank bank accounts ending in 898, 906 and 880.

These three accounts play a key part in the prosecution’s SRC case against Najib.

Sithambaram: Are you personally responsible for your banking transactions?

Najib: I have delegated (the authority).

Sithambaram: Are you personally responsible still?

Najib: If something goes wrong, how could I be responsible?

Sithambaram: Are you personally responsible no matter what others (such as former SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil who was authorised to manage Najib’s accounts) did?

Najib: I cannot be responsible if something went wrong.

12.31pm: Najib says expert can confirm his signature.

Sithambaram: Only now you disagree that it is your signature?

Najib: Yes. This is to verify if there have been forgeries.

Sithambaram: The signatory cannot confirm but the expert can, correct?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that only you can verify these signatures.

Najib: No. Not true.

12.40pm: Sithambaram goes through some of the transactions in Najib’s AmBank account.

He shows Najib the ‘880’ bank statement.

Sithambaram confirms with Najib if the statement belongs to his account. Najib confirms.

Sithambaram says on July 8, 2014, there was a transfer instruction from Nik Faisal to debit RM20 million from the ‘880’ account.

Sithambaram says out of the RM20 million, RM10 million was transferred to account ‘906’ on the same date.

Sithambaram shows Najib the ‘906’ bank statement. Najib confirms it belongs to him.

Sithambaram says the other RM10 million was transferred to Najib’s ‘898’ account on July 8, 2014.

Sithambaram then says after the RM10 million was credited to the account, Najib had used the funds to issue various cheques. Najib agrees.

Sithambaram: So, without the RM10 million, you cannot issue the cheques?

Najib: If I issue, then surely the cheques will bounce.

12.43pm: Sithambaram is now going through various bank transactions involving three AmBank accounts (880, 898, 906).

12.50pm: Najib disagrees with a suggestion by Sithambaram that his account of Saudi royal donation was just a cover story.

The suggestion was made by Sithambaram as Najib reiterates in court that he believed the money he spent by issuing numerous cheques in 2015 was from the donation.

Najib claimed that he did not know that the funds in his AmBank accounts at that time had been deposited under instructions from Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil who was the person with the mandate to manage the accounts.

Sithambaram: How could you not know about it?

Najib: I assumed there would be money from donation. I was not informed otherwise.

Sithambaram: That is just a cover (story).

Najib: I disagree.

12.56pm: Referring to transactions in his accounts, Najib said the bank didn’t inform him.

Sithambaram tells Najib he has given mandate to Nik Faisal to handle his account.

Najib says he didn’t know about the transactions.

Sithambaram: Millions were missing from your account, how did you not know about it?

Millions were spent.

Najib: I didn’t know about it.

12.58pm: Proceedings adjourn for lunch break.

2.50pm: Proceedings resume after lunch break.

3.05pm: Sithambaram questions Najib on his other accounts ‘694’ and ‘481’.

Sithambaram asks Najib if he had instructed the bank to close both accounts.

Najib: I can’t recollect.

Sithambaram: If you don’t recollect instructing the bank to close the account, then they have no authority to close it.

Datuk Seri, the letter had been written by yourself to close the account. The bank can only close the account under your instruction.

Najib: Yes. Agreed.

Sithambaram: Is that your signature on the letter?

Najib: Looks like my signature.

Sithambaram: When you were shown this document by the MACC, you admitted it was indeed your signature.

Najib: I wasn’t shown the original document.

Sithambaram: So, you are saying that you’re unable to confirm if any documents bearing your signature is a photocopy?

Najib: Generally.

3.12pm: Sithambaram likens Najib’s answers to the infamous VK Lingam video clip’s “looks like me and sounds like me”.

This description by the DPP causes both Najijb and others present in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to burst out in laughter.

Sithambaram: The letter has your name with your signature?

Najib: Looks like my signature.

Sithambaram: Whenever you say it like that, there was a previous case of “looks like it, sounds like it”.

Najib’s answer is in reply to Sithambaram’s question on whether a letter written to AmBank dated Dec 24, 2014, showed Najib’s signature.

Sithambaram is believed to be referring to the infamous early 2000s case of a video clip which purported to depict lawyer VK Lingam.

During the related Royal Commission of Inquiry, Lingam reportedly said that the person in the video “looks like me and sounds like me”.

3.23pm: Sithambaram asks Najib about the RM40 million transferred from SRC.

Sithambaram: On December 24, 2014, RM40 million from SRC International via Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd was transferred to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd.

From the RM40 million in Ihsan Perdana, RM27 million was transferred to your ‘880’ account and RM5 million was transferred to your ‘906’ account on December 26, 2014.

Do you know about these transactions?

Najib: I heard when it was read in court.

Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, from the time, RM27 million and RM5 million came to your account, you are quite content that you have used it.

Najib: I used it, but I didn’t know the source of fund.

Sithambaram: You telling that you didn’t know the source of fund is not true.

Najib: I disagree.

3.36pm: Najib tells the High Court that he does not get involved in operational matters like the transfer of RM40 million from SRC to Ihsan Perdana in 2014 as he was looking after the country.

Najib says this in response to cross-examination by Sithambaram who is asking about SRC and Gandingan Mentari purportedly not disputing the outflow of RM40 million into Ihsan Perdana.

Najib: I do not know, it is up to management (of SRC among others). Ask them.

Sithambaram: You’re such a big person at SRC International. That is why I’m asking you.

Najib: I wasn’t involved in operational matters. I was busy managing the country. Would you take that for an answer?

Sithambaram: I wish not to answer that. My answer will not be that flattering.

3.45pm: Court adjourns for a short break.

4.10pm: Court resumes after break.

4.15pm: Najib denies that he had ever been consulted on how the company spent the RM2 billion it borrowed.

Under cross-examination by Sithambaram, he says that such things are considered as operational matters and fell under SRC’s board of directors (BoD).

“No. My position in SRC was to determine strategic matters. Not day-to-day operations,” says Najib, in response to Sithambaram, who puts to him that he was holding a special position in the company.

Najib also tells the court that such things would only come to his knowledge if the matter was referred to him by the BoD.

This gets the DPP to confront him to earlier testimony by the company’s former BoD chairperson Ismee Ismail, who claimed that Najib had given such orders to them.

Sitham: Ismee said you gave this (shareholder) minutes for them to carry out.

Najib: No, I didn’t

4.51pm: Najib’s defence team will introduce new witnesses in January.

This is conveyed by Harvinderjit at the end of proceedings.

However, the lawyer does not say how many witnesses or who they are.

Judge Nazlan then allows the trial to adjourn for the day.

The prosecution’s cross-examination of the accused will continue tomorrow around 9.30am as Nazlan has a separate case decision to deliver at around 9am.

Earlier reports:

Dec 18, Najib’s Defence Like Infamous VK Lingam’s Looks Like Me, Sounds Like Me, but Not Me

Dec 12, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 63

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