Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Eight

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Defence counsel claims that Najib was “manipulated by certain people and they have gained tremendously.”

Chronology of Events:

8.54am: Wearing a brown suit, Najib enters the courtroom and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery, to await the beginning of proceedings.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

He is seen shaking hands with a police officer in court.

9.24am: Lawyers from the defence and prosecution are ready and waiting.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas is not in attendance today.

The prosecution is led today by Manoj Kurup and V Sithambaram.

9.25am: The judge enters the court and Najib takes his place in the dock.

9.30am: Eighteenth witness lawyer Ashraf Abdul Razak, 48, who runs his own firm takes the stand. Ashraf was formerly from Zulqarnain and Co, the recipient of an RM2.5 million cheque in 2015.

9.33am: Ashraf tells the court that a colleague named Habibul Rahman (Khadir Shah) informed him that the firm will be receiving a cheque payment and asked him to accept the fee as a defence contract which he will let handle.

Habibul is a known corporate figure.

“I was in business with him in Fuel Subs House Sdn Bhd to manage petrol subsidies.”

Ashraf says he went to Habibul’s house to pick up the cheque.

AmBank employee Badrul Hisham Mohamad had testified last week that a cheque made payable to Zulqarnain & Co for RM2.5 million had been issued from one of the accounts linked to Najib’s SRC International trial.

9.37am: Ashraf deposited the cheque the next day at a CIMB current account because Habibul wanted things to run smoothly.

He says he waited for instructions from Azizul to make payments from the cheque.

9.39am: Habibul instructed Ashraf to pay the former’s wife and his children with the money. Habibul also instructed Ashraf to write out other cheques to different parties and also cash cheques.

9.43am: As instructed, Ashraf made all payments he was asked to make while deducting his fees from that amount (RM2.5 million).

9.44am: Muhammad Shafee Abdullah begins his cross-examination on Ashraf.

9.52am: Ashraf says he was aware that Habibul held many positions in government-linked companies and that he was a political analyst.

Shafee: Is there a possibility, when you received the cheque, were type told what the payment is for?

Ashraf: He said that this was for his defence contract he received. He didn’t elaborate further.

9.55am: At the same time, Habibul brought Ashraf to meet a corporate figure who wanted to supply military items.

Shafee: Maybe you forgot that Habibul told you…maybe he told you anything else about the cheque?

Ashraf: No, I am clear that he told me this cheque was for a defence contract.

Shafee: Did you suspect anything about the cheque?

Ashraf: No, I did not because of his standing.

10.01am: The 19th witness is Edward Innasi, 58, who works in CIMB as a deputy manager at the cheque clearance operations department.

He confirms that the RM2.5 million cheque was processed by the bank that year.

He says this when shown the cheque by DPP Saifuddin.

10.04am: As the head of the department, Edward has the power to get information particular documents and cheques that go through the bank.

10.10am: Edward is let go after five minutes of questioning.

10.12am: Rosaiah Rosli, processing officer at Affin Bank, is the next witness. She will be reading out a written statement.

The 20th witness, Rosaiah is explaining the role of her job at this time with regard to RENTAS or real-time electronic transfer of funds and securities system.

10.19am: Rosaiah confirms that Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, which has an account in Affin Bank, received RM40 million on December 24, 2014, from an AmIslamic bank account.

The AmIslamic bank account was under the name Gandingan Mentari.

The checking and approval of the cheque were done on the day it was received.

She tells the court that Ihsan Perdana received RM5 million from Gandingan Mentari on February 5, 2015.

10.28am: Another RM5 million cheque from Gandingan Menteri to Ihsan Perdana on February 6 was also cashed.

10.35am: Rosaiah confirms the following amounts from Gandingan Mentari AmIslamic deposited to Ihsan Perdana Affin Bank account number 10618000108, based on single credit confirmation advice generated from RENTAS:

1. RM42 million on December 24, 2014

2. RM5 million on February 5, 2015

3. RM5 million February 6, 2015

Ihsan Perdana and Gandingan Mentari are SRC International subsidiaries.

10.37am: Court stands down for 10 minutes.

11am: Defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh cross-examines Rosaiah.

11.08am: Harvinderjit confirms the payments, telling the court he may request further information from Rosaiah.

11.28am: Harvinderjit tells the court after cross-examination that these three transactions from Gandingan Mentari only showed RM40 million when, in fact, the total was RM103 million.

The bulk of the money was transferred out by Ihsan Perdana by way of cheques, he said.

11.36am: Harvinderjit said it is desirable and necessary to discover where the more than RM60 million went to as it did not go into Najib’s account.

Nazlan: But it has nothing to do with the charges.

Harvinderjit: A bigger portion has ended up elsewhere and going to unknown recipients. It shows that is part of the same transactions.

Sithambaram: This case is based on seven charges. Specific charges. This court is not to conduct an inquiry on how the other money is spent or where it has gone.

“I submit that the principle of relevancy must be applied in the case.

“This application (by defence) is a general one for all transactions involving SRC International, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.

“Our case is only to the RM42 million according to the charges.

“If we go on this track, with other banks involved, we would be going on a wild goose chase with no relevance to the charges,” Sithambaram argues.

11.40am: Harvinderjit begs to differ, saying if the parties conducting these transfers and the signatories of Gandingan Mentari and SRC are the same.

“My client was manipulated by certain people and they have gained tremendously.”

11.51am: Harvinderjit explains the money trail from Gandingan Menteri to Ihsan Perdana to judge Nazlan.

Nazlan ultimately allows the defence’s application but limits it to one transaction involving RM10 million from Ihsan Perdana’s Affin account.

11.56am: Court stands down for 10 minutes.

12.15pm: Trial continues with witness Rosaiah confirming transactions through the Affin Bank account.

12.20pm: Rosaiah is let go from the stand.

12.22pm: Uma Devi Ragavan, 39, branch manager of AmBank in Jalan Raja Chulan takes the stand.

She will be reading a statement based on records she had with her.

12.26pm: Uma says SRC International has two current accounts in AmBank. SRC International also named five signatories for the accounts.

12.36pm: Uma lists out when the SRC accounts were open and the forms used to open them.

12.45pm: The signatories are Ismee Ismail, Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Suboh Md Yasin.

Under the company resolution, the signatories are divided into two groups – with the first three under one group and the other two the remaining group.

1pm: Court breaks for lunch and will resume at 2.30pm.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

2.36pm: Trial resumes.

2.40pm: Uma is back on the stand. She starts to read her voluminous witness statement.

2.55pm: Uma confirms that AmBank relationship manager Krystle Yap sent an email dated Dec 24, 2014, asking the branch to abide by an order letter (surat arahan) from SRC International to transfer RM40 million from SRC International’s account to Gandingan Mentari’s account.

During examination-in-chief by Suhaimi, Uma, in reading out her voluminous witness statement, says the bank’s Raja Chulan branch received the directive, which was premised on SRC’s letter signed by Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Suboh Md Yassin.

The two are among five signatories for SRC International’s AmBank current accounts, as testified by Uma earlier.

3.05pm: Uma is verifying transactions that were authorised by signatories of the AmBank accounts belonging to Gandingan Mentari and SRC International.

3.24pm: SRC International transferred RM50 million to Gandingan Mentari from December 24, 2014, to February 6, 2015. All directives were signed by Nik Faisal and Suboh Md Yasin.

3.30pm: Uma confirms that Najib has five accounts at AmBank and that he made Nik Faisal the authorised personnel for the accounts.

Nik Faisal was authorised to handle cheque books in a letter to the AmBank branch manager.

She states that four were current accounts and one was a savings account.

The savings account was opened on Jan 18, 2011, and closed on Aug 30, 2013. It had a balance of RM12,436,711.87.

One of the current accounts was opened on Jan 13, 2011, and the other three on July 31, 2013.

The first current account was closed on Aug 30, 2013. It had a balance of RM82.67.

The other three accounts were closed on March 9, 2015.

4.02pm: Shafee lends some mirth into the proceedings when he admits to being tired and seeks a short recess.

“We are almost halfway (through today’s proceedings). I am quite tired and bored. I am not sure about the witness, but can we have a short break?” he asks the judge.

This causes witness Uma, Najib and the public gallery to burst into laughter.

Nazlan then allows Shafee’s application for a short break of proceedings.

4.28pm: Uma testifies that the branch, on Aug 11, 2014, was ordered to transfer more than RM3.28 million from Najib AmBank account to two credit card accounts.

She is reading her witness statement during examination-in-chief by DPP Suhaimi.

“I refer to a letter of instruction dated Aug 11, 2014, which is a debit instruction.

“I confirm that the letter of instruction read to transfer RM3,282,734.16 from the AmBank account of Najib.

“The letter ordered to use RM449,586.95 from the RM3,282,734.16 to be credited into a credit card of Visa Platinum.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

“The balance of RM2,833,147.21 was credited into a Mastercard Platinum credit card,” she says, referring to both cards being issued by Ambank.

However, she does not say to whom the credit cards belong to.

5pm: Shafee tries to apply for proceedings be adjourned for the day.

He says proceedings might as well resume tomorrow as Uma will still be testifying the whole day tomorrow.

“It is a good idea to take a break as some of us need to see daylight,” he says, eliciting chuckles from the public gallery.

However, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas disagrees.

“This is a test of stamina. Justice must go on. The witness (Uma) is still there (at the witness stand),” says Thomas, who is the lead prosecutor.

Shafee retorts that the witness too may be tired and that some of them in court need to exercise.

“I would like to go and exercise. If Tommy Thomas doesn’t that’s up to him.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“I would like my time. I do not wish to be stuck in court,” he says, adding that some of them have matters outside court that they need to attend to.

Nazlan asks the witness if she was alright with continuing and she replied in the affirmative.

The judge orders proceedings to continue for the next half-hour.

5.32pm: Nazlan reminds all parties to arrive punctually tomorrow, as proceedings will begin at 9am sharp.

“Everyone needs to come on time. It (proceedings) will start at 9am sharp tomorrow,” the judge reminds the prosecution and the defence.

Nazlan is responding to DPP Suhaimi, who is asking for proceedings to be adjourned until tomorrow as Uma’s testimony, which has been ongoing for the past several hours, has just entered new territory.

The judge then allows proceedings to resume tomorrow at 9am.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

Earlier reports:

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