Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 71

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Defence didn’t raise forgery issue when Ismee identified Najib’s signatures.

9.05am: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the Kuala Lumpur High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.


Also seen in court are DPP V Sithambaram and other DPPs as well as Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and other members of the defence team.

9.16am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

The prosecution and defence are expected to resume submissions over Najib’s application for an Australian handwriting expert to examine the authenticity of his signatures on 13 key documents in the RM42 million SRC International trial.

9.23am: Sithambaram submits that the defence acknowledged the signatures were not forged or fake, and merely raised the issue of the documentary evidence being photocopies.

“They (defence) now say these are forged documents, but it remains on your Lordship (Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali) judgement (order for Najib to enter defence in SRC case),” Sithambaram says.

The DPP is submitting on why the court should not allow Najib’s application for an Australian handwriting expert.

9.35am: The court hears that the defence did not raise the issue about forgery when an important witness identified the signatures as Najib’s when being cross-examined by defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh.

Sithambaram says that the former chairperson of SRC board of directors, Ismee Ismail, had testified that he recognised Najib’s signatures as he had previously affected instructions signed by Najib during Ismee’s time as a Tabung Haji chairperson.

“My lord, there is no challenge on why he (Ismee) identified this is signature of Datuk Seri Najib.

“This was the opportune moment to raise that issue,” says Sithambaram.

10.01am: The prosecution argues that Najib’s application for an Australian handwriting expert is likely to obstruct the fair trial.

10.05am: Sithambaram tells the court that the prosecution was not hiding anything or trying to play games with the defence in SRC case.

He says that it was not like the prosecution never gave Najib a chance to dispute the documents tendered as evidence in court before.

“This is not the case where we didn’t give them a chance. We didn’t push them into a corner. 57 days, never a word about forgery,” says the DPP.

“All cards are on the table. We are not playing poker here.

“Justice is not a game,” Sithambaram added.

10.30am: Sithambaram says that there was no need for the court to call for an expert to say if signatures on seven documents disputed by the defence is Najib’s or otherwise.

He says that this was because Najib himself can say if the signatures were his.

“Here we are talking about signatures. Signatures, he (Najib) is in the position to say it is his or not. No need to call for expert, my lord.

“And he has also admitted to the signatures earlier. Now he changes his stance,” Sithambaram says.

10.35am: Sithambaram wraps up his submission against the defence’s application to call an expert witness to examine Najib’s signatures on documents tendered in court as evidence.

Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh then takes his turn to reply.

10.50am: The High Court should allow the Australian handwriting expert to examine Najib’s alleged signatures on key SRC documents, because actual weight of this evidence would only be determined at the end of trial, the defence argues.

The lawyer adds that this is all the more so as generally, for the most part, the makers of the disputed documents were not called during the prosecution stage of the trial.

“Nothing should prohibit us (defence) from putting in the evidence (report of Australian expert after analysing the disputed documents), the weight (of the Australian expert’s report) is to be determined later (at end of the defence stage of trial),” Harvinderjit says.

11.06am: The prosecution did not call an expert to verify Najib’s alleged signatures on key SRC documents because it would not be in their favour, the High Court hears.

Harvinderjit argues that the prosecution had instead relied on section 71 of the Evidence Act to allow the 13 disputed documents admitted as evidence during the prosecution stage of trial last year.

Section 71 states that if a witness denies or does not recall the execution of a document, its execution may be proved by other evidence.

“They (prosecution never had an investigational basis, hence why they went under Section 71. They were not caught by surprise, but by a roadblock.

“If an expert had come in (during the prosecution stage of trial last year to ascertain the validity of Najib’s signatures), then it (case) would not be in their favour,” Harvinderjit says.

11.25am: Court goes for a short break.

11.59pm: Proceedings resume.

12.16pm: The defence argues that the SRC documents with Najib’s alleged signatures were admitted with the caveat that its authenticity can be challenged later.

“We made it clear (during the prosecution stage of the SRC trial last year) that those documents we placed a caveat on them, they can be marked (as evidence) but they can be challenged.

“Once marked as P (marker for evidence admitted in court), it does not end there. Like any ruling, Yang Arif can revisit the ruling,” Shafee submits.

12.30pm: Citing several case laws, Shafee says that a court of law should consider even the slightest defence by an accused, including an afterthought.

“Doesn’t matter what kind of defence an accused is raising, Yang Arif should consider the slightest for the benefit of the doubt,” he says.

“Yang Arif will see in the Anglo-American system is not to curtail any kind of defence, doesn’t matter how little it is. Even if it’s an afterthought, because that would be prejudice,” Shafee adds.

1.14pm: Judge Nazlan reserves 9am tomorrow for his decision on Najib’s application for an Australian expert to examine the authenticity of his signatures on key SRC documents.

Proceedings break for lunch.

2.57pm: Proceedings resume.

3.13pm: During cross-examination by Sithambaram, Najib agrees that he agreed to a second government guarantee for Retirement Fund Inc’s (KWAP) RM2 billion loan to SRC despite the company having no concrete good progress.

Sithambaram is referring to a letter from then SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to Najib dated Jan 9, 2012, where SRC was seeking a second government guarantee for a second tranche RM2 billion loan.

The government had earlier given a government guarantee for a first tranche of RM2 billion loan from KWAP to SRC in late 2011.

Sithambaram: In this letter, you agree to a second government guarantee (for second tranche of RM2 billion loan to SRC)?

Najib: In principle.

Sithambaram: That agreement in principle is provided that SRC provided good progress as reported to Datuk Seri (Najib)?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: Before you have approval for second government guarantee, what was SRC’s good progress?

Najib: There was some indication they (SRC) were working investment in energy like coal, they needed additional capital to secure investment.

Sithambaram: You agree that was their intention, to look for coal investment, but you were never told of actual good progress of SRC in a concrete fashion?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: On the huge investment of government funds of RM4 billion, have you ever asked to meet the board of SRC?

Najib: Not as a board, no.

Sithambaram: On hindsight, it appears that SRC had never passed any board minutes, shareholder resolution. You don’t think you should have asked to meet the board?

Najib: No, I have trust on the board.

Sithambaram: (How do you have) the trust sir, the board seems to have not done anything in seven years?

Najib: MKD should have alerted if there was a problem.

3.41pm: Najib denies he was in a hurry to bring SRC under the Minister of Finance Inc (MOF Inc) by signing its draft proposal on Feb 3, 2012.

Sithambaram is referring to a previous testimony by former deputy Treasury secretary-general Mat Noor Nawi that Najib signed the draft proposal while at Subang Airport on Feb 3, 2012.

Mat Noor had testified that he was surprised by Najib immediately signing the draft proposal after reading every paragraph of a related letter.

Sithambaram: You were in a hurry to bring it (SRC) under MoF Inc as you signed a photocopy (proposal)?

Najib: I was not in a hurry.

Sithambaram: You signed a draft.

Najib: I thought it was in order.

Sithambaram: You signed in a hurry?

Najib: Disagree.

4.10pm: Najib knew that SRC had not done anything with its first loan when the company applied for the second tranche of RM2 billion in 2012, but agreed to it in the hope SRC would do better.

Najib says this under cross-examination by Sithambaram when confronted on why he had agreed to SRC applying for another government guarantee for the second loan.

Sithambaram: You agree at that time (the second) government guarantee was given, you were personally aware that SRC would not succeed because it had done nothing with the first loan.

Najib: I was hoping it would do better.

Sithambaram: It had done nothing, how could it do better?

Najib: I was hoping it would do better.

4.22pm: Proceedings adjourn for today and will resume tomorrow.

Earlier reports:

Jan 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 70

Jan 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 69

Jan 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 68

Jan 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 67

Jan 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 66

Jan 6, Prosecution’s Application to Impeach Najib Dismissed, Judge Ruled No Contradictions Given

Dec 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 65

Dec 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 64

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