Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 73

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Najib could not provide a reason why anyone would transfer RM42 million into a bank account.

9.19am: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the witness stand as proceedings begin at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge

9.25am: An Australian handwriting expert may not be able to come next week to examine the authenticity of Najib’s alleged signatures on 13 key SRC International documents, the High Court hears.

Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh informs Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that this is because of the short notice given for the expert to arrive in Malaysia next week.

Yesterday, Nazlan allowed Najib’s application for the expert to examine the disputed documents but directed it to be done before the trial resumes on Feb 3. This means the examination is to be done next week.

“Yang Arif directed for examination to be next week, but we are waiting to confirm,” Harvinderjit says.

“It is too short a notice for him to come next week, but we will try to confirm with Your Lordship after lunch (today).”

The lawyer adds that subject to confirmation with the expert, the week after next week is all right.

Nazlan then takes note, subject to the defence confirming after lunch whether the expert could come next week or not.

9.40am: Najib testifies that it was not prudent for him to check directly with the Saudi royal family on their purported donations.

He tells the court that this was because Jho Low had been appointed by the royal family as their conduit for the matter.

Najib says this when being cross-examined by Sithambaram about the four tranches of donations totalling RM2.6 billion he purportedly received from the then Saudi monarch, King Abdullah Alsaud, between 2011 and 2014.

The court also hears that Najib also did not check whether the US$620 million (about RM2.2 billion), which he had purportedly returned to the monarch family in 2013, had reached them.

9.45am: Najib tells the court that it would be difficult for the defence to get a member of the Saudi royal family to testify about the RM2.6 billion donation.

He says this when asked by Sithambaram if any member of the monarchy would be called to court to vouch for Najib’s claim.

9.55am: The prosecution’s cross-examination on Najib goes back to two banking documents that he allegedly signed in 2013, instructing the remittance of some US$620 million supposedly back into the hands of the Saudi royal family that purportedly gave him the donations.

For the record, these two documents, including one sent to then AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang, were among those that Najib is disputing its authenticity.

Najib had previously told the court he had doubts that he signed the documents and requested to have an expert witness to examine them.

However, during this morning’s cross-examination, Najib testifies that he could identify the documents based on their contents and remembers that he had signed them.

This testimony by Najib does not go well with Sithambaram, who then presses the former prime minister on his ability to identify the documents and his signature at this juncture.

Sithambaram: Because photocopy, you contended that you cannot confirm your signature, and today you confirm.

Najib: Ya. it depends on the content.

Sithambaram: What content, sir?

Najib: Because I remember this was my instruction.

Sithambaram: So, when Ismee (former SRC chairperson Ismee Ismail) told the court he had acted on a shareholder instruction to carry board meetings, you think otherwise?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: Even minutes of the shareholder (instruction) came before the board meeting?

Najib: It is not proper.

Sithambaram: It is not proper. But the minutes came before.

Najib: That’s what I’m disputing.

Sithambaram: I’m putting it to you, you are being selective in identifying documents to suit your case for your defence.

Najib: I disagree.

For the record, other documents that Najib is disputing in court include SRC minutes of shareholders, which had his signatures on them.

These minutes were alleged as instructions to the SRC board of directors to make resolutions, including matters pertaining to its investments overseas.

10.06am: The DPP is referring to a transfer of £2,216.01 (RM11,567.57) from Vista Equity International Partners Limited, Seychelles on Nov 24 2014, and which arrived into Najib’s ‘880’ bank account, two days later (Nov 26).

This transfer was part of a series of monetary transfers into Najib’s 880 bank account from June 23, 2014, until Dec 19, 2014.

Najib’s defence team is relying on the defence that Najib had thought the RM42 million of purported SRC money that went into his account was from a massive Arab donation totalling RM2.6 billion.

When Sithambaram refers Najib to the bank statement on this, Najib confirms that the money was received into his account.

“This is a paltry sum for a Saudi royal family,” Sithambaram remarks.

The DPP then asks Najib if he received donations from the Saudi royal family, and Najib agrees.

10.23am: The prosecution grills Najib over the stated purpose of a “loan” for transfers into his account despite his claim that it was part of donations received from the Saudi royal family.

Sithambaram questions Najib over three tranches of monetary transfers into Najib’s 880 account between June 23, 2014 and Dec 19, 2014.

Among the bank documents, Sithambaram refers Najib to is the transfer of £995,000 (RM5,360,065) from Vista Equity International Partners Limited Seychelles, into his 880 bank account on Dec 10, 2014.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that this “loan” (stated purpose of transfer), and the fact that you (claimed) getting a donation, that is why there is this discrepancy, and the manner in which these funds made its way into your account.

Najib: Disagree.

10.55am: Court takes a short recess.

11.28am: Proceedings resume.

11.45am: Najib testifies that he had never complained to AmBank about his five accounts being operated not according to instructions when the accounts were still open.

He says this when answering questions from Sithambaram about his accounts ending 694, 481, 880, 906 and 898. The first two were operational between 2011 and 2013, while the last three were opened in 2013, and later closed in March 2015.

Najib tells the court that the reason he never complained when the accounts were still in operation was that he was not aware of any wrongdoing then.

“I didn’t complain because I didn’t know what happened,” Najib says.

11.50am: The DPP is asking Najib over the MACC statement he (Najib) signed during investigation, where the dispute was on whether he signed exhibit P277, the transfer instruction in question.

During trial, however, Najib maintains that he did not sign the transfer because he was golfing with then US president Barack Obama in Hawaii in December 2014.

Sithambaram: You agreed when the MACC statement was recorded, you agreed you signed P277?

Najib: At that time, yes.

The DPP then asserts that Najib could have just emailed a signed copy of the transfer instruction from Hawaii to his authorised mandate holder, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, to get AmBank to execute the transfer.

The accused, however, disagrees with this assertion.

12.05pm: Najib disagrees with the prosecution’s suggestion that all funds that came into his five AmBank accounts between 2011 and 2015 were for his personal benefit.

Instead, he testifies, the monies were also used to help the poor.

Sithambaram then puts it to Najib that the expenditures from his accounts to BN, Umno and other social causes had personally benefited him in his political career.

“That was meant for the continuation of the government of the day,” Najib answers.

Sithambaram: I’m putting this to you, sir, the expenditures in these so-called Arab donations enabled you to indirectly buy votes from voters and recipients of the funds.

Najib: I disagree.

12.17pm: The DPP was earlier asking Najib about why Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman was not informed about a transfer from IPSB into Najib’s account, which was an undisclosed account.

IPSB was allegedly involved in the total transfer of RM42 million into Najib’s account between December 2014 and February 2015.

Sithambaram was asking Najib why his then-chief private secretary Azlin Alias did not tell then Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling about the owner of the undisclosed bank account.

Ung had previously testified he was involved in telling Shamsul to transfer the amount.

Sithambaram: Why would anyone put RM42 million into an account?

Najib: I do not know. I never authorised that money (transfer).

12.52pm: Court breaks for lunch.

2.46pm: Proceedings resume.

2.50pm: Judge Nazlan allows an application by the defence to set the week of Feb 10 for an Australian expert to examine Najib’s disputed signatures on 13 SRC documents.

Previously, the court had set for the examination to take place before Feb 3.

The new date comes on the heels of counsel Harvinderjit informing the court that the expert could only come on Feb 10.

“The only arrangement that could be done. Confirmation that Feb 10 is perfectly fine.

“I do not foresee too much delay (on the RM42 million SRC trial). Examination only two days and can then tell Yang Arif when the finalised report can be done,” Harvinderjit says.

Sithambaram then says the expert coming on Feb 10 is one thing, but the preparation of the report by the expert is another, which may further delay the ongoing trial.

“Need to serve on us (prosecution in relation to the expert’s report on analysis of Najib’s alleged signatures). The report must come fairly quickly. Otherwise, that can throw the case (trial) off-course,” Sithambaram reminds the court.

The judge then sets the week of Feb 10 for the expert to analyse the disputed signatures, adding that the report needs to be prepared quickly after analysis.

3.08pm: Najib disagrees that the then attorney-general Apandi Ali was wrong to exonerate him of any wrongdoing in the SRC matter.

Najib also disagrees that Apandi was later linked to being part of Tabung Haji’s (TH) board.

On Jan 26, 2016, Apandi announced that Najib was cleared of any wrongdoing in the SRC matter.

It was later revealed that Apandi became a member of TH’s hoard in 2016.

He resigned from the board on June 4, 2018.

3.10pm: Najib might call Apandi to testify as a defence witness in the SRC trial.

He says this when asked by Sithambaram if Apandi would be called by the defence to testify on his press conference absolving Najib of wrongdoings in the SRC case in 2016.

Sithambaram: Are you calling Apandi as a witness in this case? Because that evidence remains as identification.

Najib: We are considering the matter.

3.15pm: The court hears from Najib that he had told Azlin that he wanted to close his three bank accounts with AmBank in 2015.

However, Najib tells the court that he could not confirm if he had signed a document that ordered the closure of accounts ending 880, 898 and 906.

Najib testifies this when shown the original copy of the document in court.

“I want the accounts (to be) closed, but I cannot confirm if I signed this,” says Najib.

He also could not recall if Azlin had brought the document for him to sign.

Najib, however, agrees that it was possible that Azlin had brought the document to him.

3.26pm: Najib denies he abused his then position as prime minister to enrich himself with RM42 million of SRC’s funds.

He makes this denial among a series of denials to assertions made by Sithambaram during cross-examination.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that you misused your position as a public officer, prime minister and also finance minister to secure the two government guarantees for RM4 billion (loans from Retirement Fund Inc or KWAP) to SRC.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that you used your position to enrich yourself from the SRC funds.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that you transferred RM42 million in SRC funds which is the subject matter of (Najib’s) CBT (charges) for no known purpose into your account, this confirms that this is indeed a bribe.

Najib: No, no evidence to show that.

Sithambaram: You had personal interest in SRC at all material times when you chaired the cabinet meeting to approve two government guarantees (for KWAP’s RM4 billion loan to SRC)?

Najib: I totally disagree.

Sithambaram: You ran SRC as your own personal company for your own personal benefit.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram: Only a minister without any private interest in an MKD (Minister of Finance Inc) company (SRC) can sit and make decisions at a cabinet meeting (to approve the two government guarantees), and this is not a person with your (then) position.

Najib: I disagree.

3.35pm: Court adjourns, resumes on Feb 3.

Sithambaram will conduct another hour of cross-examination on Feb 3. The defence team will conduct a re-examination of their client after that procedure.

Earlier reports:

Jan 23, Stumbling for Answers at SRC Trial, Najib Is Schooled on Court Proceedings

Jan 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 72

Jan 22, Court Allows Najib to Call Expert to Verify Signatures

Jan 21, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 71

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