Najib’s “conflicting testimony” over signature leads to impeachment.
Updated: The High Court this afternoon dismissed the prosecution’s application in Najib’s SRC corruption trial to initiate impeachment proceedings against the former prime minister for allegedly giving conflicting statements to the MACC investigating officers and evidence in court. Judge Nazlan ruled that there was no material contradictions given by Najib.
Najjua Zulkefli/TMIFormer prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s alleged contradictory statements on his signature in the SRC International trial have resulted in an impeachment proceeding being initiated against him.
This came as trial judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali earlier today allowed an application by the prosecution to start the process to impeach Najib as a witness.
The application to impeach Najib was made this morning by DPP V Sithambaram, who said Najib had provided different versions in his statements to the MACC and to the court.
This was in regard to several documents related to SRC International, which Najib now disputes in court saying that he doubts the authenticity of the signatures resembling his on the papers.
According to Sithambaram, Najib had told the MACC differently during the investigation, where the Pekan MP admitted to investigators that he had seen the documents and signed them.
“At this juncture, I wish to apply for the impeachment of the credibility of this witness (Najib) under Section 145(1) and Section 155(c) of the Evidence Act,” Sithambaram said.
Among the documents that Najib is now disputing the authenticity of his signatures included a banking order to transfer RM32 million out of SRC account to two other companies on Dec 29, 2014; minutes from Minister of Finance Incorporated meeting that detailed orders on how SRC funds should be utilised; an approval for SRC to secure additional RM2 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).
For the record, Najib is testifying from the witness box as the first defence witness. He is also the 58th witness to provide evidence in the criminal hearing against him which entered 66th day today.
Najib’s defence team had in the previous proceeding filed an application to call an expert witness from Australia to examine the documents in court. The application is scheduled to be heard by Nazlan tomorrow.
Sithambaram submitted that Najib himself had during this morning’s cross-examination agreed that there were contradictions between his statement and testimony in court.
“So, until the MACC statement is seen by my lordship, my learned friend (defence lawyer) cannot preempt my application for the court to look at the statement.
“Especially (when) the accused himself agreed there is a contradiction between his statement and MACC statement,” he said.
Impeachment process disputed
However, the application to start an impeachment process against Najib was disputed by his lawyers, who argued in court that Najib had already explained why he now has doubts on the signatures.
Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh said the court should not allow the impeachment bid as the accused has already explained the alleged contradiction.
“The issue in question is whether there has been a contradiction, there is no material contradiction as he (Najib) has explained it.
“He is not saying he did not sign, he is saying he doubts the authenticity (of the signatures on the documents) and wished for a (handwriting expert) to look at it,” the lawyer argued.
Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, meanwhile, accused the prosecution of trying to block their plan to get an expert witness to examine the documents in question.
“There is lack of bona fide (good faith) in the (impeachment) application due to the impending (hearing) of (Najib’s) application tomorrow for the expert to look at the various documents related to (Najib’s) signatures.
“I warn the other side (prosecution) that this (impeachment bid) is precisely what would bolster our application tomorrow,” Shafee said.
After hearing the submissions from both sides, Nazlan then ruled that the prosecution’s application was not without merit and allowed the process to start.
The judge then ordered for the impeachment process hearing to commence after lunch today.
“Having looked at submissions, I find the prosecution’s application to initiate impeachment process against the accused in respect of alleged contradiction in his Supplementary Witness Statement and the statement he gave to MACC is not without merit.
“The court is to be shown the (alleged) statement containing the alleged contradiction in his Supplementary Witness Statement and the statement to MACC on how the matter is to progress,” Nazlan said. – Malaysiakini