Najib Razak presents his defence on 3 – 19 December 2019 for the SRC International trial…

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Day 59: I never urged for insertion of provisions for SRC International – Najib

Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid & Hariz Mohd

Published:   |  Modified: 

LIVE | The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd enters its 59th day today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.

 

Summary of Najib’s SRC RM42 million case

Najib is facing 7 charges relating to RM42m involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Defence to interview as many witnesses as possible this week
  • Najib denies making SRC ownership transfer decision before Treasury memo
  • Najib shocked he was alleged to have dictated SRC board decisions
  • Najib says SRC directors chosen by 1MDB board, not him
  • Najib testifies he has no personal interest in SRC International
  • SRC’s lack of track record doesn’t prevent loan application – Najib
  • Najib: I have no power to order KWAP to approve loan applications
  • Jotting of ‘Agree’ on SRC loan application is not final decision: Najib
  • Najib didn’t know Nik Faisal was SRC shareholder and director
  • Najib tenders Petronas memorandum and articles of association as evidence
  • Najib: I never urged for insertion of provisions for SRC International
  • I believed Jho Low could ease investment dealings in Middle East – Najib
  • Najib denies involvement in appointing 1MDB management executives
  • Najib – Nothing extraordinary in amendment to 1MDB’s memorandum and articles of association
  • TIA idea came from Sultan Mizan, Jho Low and T’ganu gov’t, says Najib
  • Putrajaya took over TIA to protect then Agong and T’ganu gov’t – Najib
  • Najib takes the stand to read out his witness statement
  • Prosecution objects to Najib’s witness statement being tendered late
  • No report lodged by Najib as he respected due process – defence
  • Najib unaware of the actual transactions in his accounts, says lawyer
  • Nothing sinister in amendment to SRC memorandum and articles of association: Shafee
  • Defence – Najib has no personal interest in SRC
  • SRC fundings by KWAP guaranteed by gov’t for development – defence
  • Defence could only interview 7 out of 66 witnesses offered – Shafee

 

Excerpts

9.35am – Najib Abdul Razak’s lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah begins reading out the opening statement of the defence stage of the former prime minister’s RM42 million SRC International trial.

The accused looks on from the dock.

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Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah says this when reading the defence’s opening statement at the start of the defence case.

“As a whole, the evidence with regard to the manner in which cheques were issued from Najib’s accounts versus the actual balances of the accounts leans in favour of a clear inference that he was not being accurately told of the real balances in the accounts.

“The same is fortified by the other contemporaneous evidence which revealed there was a scheme in place to ensure that Najib was unaware of the actual transactions in his accounts,” he says.

Shafee also claims the evidence does not support the inference that the RM42 million that went into Najib’s Ambank accounts was gratification for which Najib was paid either by himself or through any other party as part of a corrupt arrangement.


Nothing sinister in amendment to SRC memorandum and articles of association: Shafee

9.52am – Najib Abdul Razak’s defence contends there was nothing sinister in the amendments made to the memorandum and articles of association of SRC International in April 2012, the High Court hears.

In reading out the defence’s opening statement, lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah says the related testimony that the matter originated from SRC shareholder was incredible and inconsistent with the contents of the document itself, among others.

“In any event, the ambit of Article 117 on the role of the advisor emeritus (Najib) did not support the view that the same was designed or used as a means to control the board,” Shafee says.


Defence – Najib has no personal interest in SRC

9.48am – Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in reading the defence’s opening statement says that former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak had no personal interest in SRC International to conflict his public duty.

Najib, he adds, had acted only in the best interests of the country in matters concerning the company.

“Najib had no personal interest in SRC at all times, which can be said to be conflicted with his public duty.

“There is no question of Najib having a personal interest. The acts and involvement of Najib in matters concerning SRC led to matters which were endorsed or ultimately approved by KWAP, the EPU ,minister, the Ministry of Finance, the Treasury and/or the cabinet.

These acts of Najib were motivated only by the best interests of the government and Malaysia,” he tells the court.


SRC fundings by KWAP guaranteed by gov’t for development – defence

9.45am – The federal government’s endorsement of the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) funding of SRC International was based on its intended activities in promulgating national key development areas identified in the 10th Malaysia Plan and the New Energy Policy, says the defence.

Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, in reading the defence’s opening statement, stresses that this was the justification which underscored the decisions made by the EPU, KWAP, Finance Ministry and the cabinet in approving both the government guarantees and disbursement of RM4 billion to SRC.

“To say otherwise would be to unreasonably imply and infer that the relevant decision-makers, including the head of the Treasury, relevant ministers, members of the Investment Panel of KWAP and members of the cabinet had committed a dereliction of their public, statutory and/or constitutional duties,” he tells the court.


Defence could only interview 7 out of 66 witnesses offered – Shafee

9.40am – Najib Abdul Razak’s defence team could only interview seven out of 66 witnesses offered by the prosecution for the former prime minister’s defence stage of the trial, the High Court hears.

No report lodged by Najib as he respected due process – defence

10.03am – Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah says former premier Najib Abdul Razak did not lodge any police report nor raise complaints on suspicious transactions in his bank accounts as the matter was already under investigation.

“… and Najib chose instead to respect the process and integrity on the then on-going investigations.”


Najib unaware of the actual transactions in his accounts, says lawyer

9.59am – Contemporaneous evidence presented in court has shown that former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak (below) had no knowledge of the actual transactions in his account, his lawyer claims.

10.15am – Defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah wraps up reading the defence’s opening statement.

Najib takes the stand to read out his witness statement

10.30am – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the witness stand as he gets ready to read out his witness statement.

He then starts reading his oath in both English and Malay.

“I, Najib Abdul Razak do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence which I shall give in this case shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

Najib’s witness statement is about 240 pages, with a total of 153 questions and answers.

Putrajaya took over TIA to protect then Agong and T’ganu gov’t – Najib

10.52am – The cabinet’s decision for the federal government to take over the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) was reluctantly made to protect the then Agong and Terengganu state government from embarrassment, Najib Abdul Razak testifies.

The former prime minister says this while reading from his witness statement.

“It was a decision that was reluctantly made to protect the state government and Yang di-Pertuan Agong from embarrassment and also to prevent negative impact on the Malaysian bond market globally,” Najib says.

TIA idea came from Sultan Mizan, Jho Low and T’ganu gov’t – Najib

11am – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies in court that 1MDB-linked businessperson Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, was a close acquaintance of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin and his sister Tengku Rahimah Sultan Mahmud.

For the record, Sultan Mizan (above), who is the ruler of Terengganu, was the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong when Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) was set up in 2009.

TIA is the precursor of what is now known as 1MDB.

Najib tells the court that from his understanding, the idea of TIA had come from discussions between Low and Sultan Mizan.

“The concept of TIA, as I understand it, had come from discussions between Jho Low and His Royal Highness, and the Terengganu state government.

“I was made to understand that Jho Low was appointed as an adviser to the then chairperson of TIA Board of Advisors, which was Tuanku himself.

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Najib denies involvement in appointing 1MDB management executives

11.18am – Najib Abdul Razak denies he was involved in appointing members of the 1MDB management team.

“In the essence, I deal with the CEO and chairperson of 1MDB, and had no dealings with the management team. I believe the individuals (to join 1MDB) would be appointed by the CEO or the chairperson themselves,” he testifies.

Najib: I believed Jho Low could ease investment dealings in Middle East

11.20am – The court hears from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that he believed 1MDB-linked businessperson Low Taek Jho (below) had influence in the Middle East and thus could help ease investment dealings in the region.

Testifying at his criminal trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, the politician says that Low carried himself as someone who was “very influential” with Middle Eastern countries.

“… which made me believe that he should be able to assist in investment and (business) shareholding with them.

“These countries, meaning the Middle Eastern countries, at that time were having cash overflow due to the increase in (global) oil price. Thus, I was of the opinion that Jho Low’s influence and the connection would ease 1MDB objectives and investments as intended.”

12.39pm – Proceedings resume with a photocopied witness statement of Najib Abdul Razak, with all the pages included.

Najib: I never urged for insertion of provisions for SRC International

12.49pm – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies that he never urged (mendesak) for the insertion of Article 116 among others into SRC International’s memorandum and articles of association (M&A).

While reading from his witness statement, he answers that to the question on whether he had at any point urged for the insertion of Articles 68 and 117 into SRC’s M&A.

“No, I was not involved nor consulted at that stage. I found out about it in a letter dated June 3, 2011 (from SRC) stating that the establishment (of SRC) was approved by the EPU Minister, TSNMY (acronym for Nor Mohamad Yackop).

Article 116 refers to then SRC board of advisors chairperson Najib’s veto power in relation to the removal of directors of SRC.
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Najib tenders Petronas memorandum and articles of association as evidence

12.55pm – The proceeding sees former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak adducing Petronas’ memorandum and articles of association (M&A) as evidence in his defence.

This comes as the accused testifies that the M&A of SRC International was not the only one that gives “overarching” power to the prime minister of Malaysia in government-linked companies.

According to Najib, the Petronas M&A gives a more overarching power to the PM compared to what is stipulated in SRC’s M&A.

“… I want to show that the power of the PM in Petronas is even more far-reaching, more overarching compared to (the power) in SRC’s operations.

“That is the main point (in adducing the Petronas M&A),” he tells the court.

Najib gives an example of Article 109(3) of the Petronas M&A, which he says was initially done in 1974, stipulating that the chairperson of Petronas can only be appointed by the PM and compels the chairperson to act under the PM’s order.

“The rationale behind such power put in the hands of a prime minister was to enable the PM to ensure the leadership of a company chairperson is always in line with the government’s interests and policies.”

Najib says that this is even more powerful than Articles 67 and 116 of SRC M&A.

Adding that such power is normally in the hands of shareholders to decide, Najib stresses that it, however, does not in any way exonerate the company’s board of directors from carrying out their fiduciary duties and other responsibilities to act in the best interest of the company.


Najib didn’t know Nik Faisal was SRC shareholder and director

12.58pm – The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak that he had no knowledge that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (below) and Vincent Koh Beng Huat were named as the shareholders and directors of SRC International when the company was registered.

Najib also claims he had never met Nik Faisal or Koh over SRC matters.

“No, I have no knowledge about this whatsoever. Neither did I at any time ever met with Nik Faisal or Vincent Koh Beng Huat over SRC.

Najib also claims he did not know that SRC shares were only transferred to 1MDB towards the end of 2011.

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Najib: I have no power to order KWAP to approve loan applications

2.45pm – Najib Abdul Razak tells the court that as a finance minister, he had no power to order the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to approve SRC International loan applications back in 2010 and 2011.
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“The view of Azian that I was her ‘ultimate boss’ also did not have any meaning in KWAP’s decision to approve the loan, because as the CEO, she too did not have any right to vote in the (investment panel’s) loan approval process.
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Najib testifies he has no personal interest in SRC International

3.26pm – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies he has no personal interest in SRC International, the High Court hears.
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3.35pm – The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak that he only endorsed a list of potential directors for SRC International that was given to him in Aug 2011 by then 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (below).
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Najib shocked he was alleged to have dictated SRC board decisions

4.20pm – Former premier Najib Abdul Razak tells the court he was shocked to hear the testimony of former SRC International chairperson Ismee Ismail, who accused him of giving orders to the company’s board of directors before they reach a decision.
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Najib denies making SRC ownership transfer decision before Treasury memo

4.42pm – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak denies making a decision on the transfer of SRC International to Minister of Finance Inc, before then-Treasury secretary-general Md Nor Nawi issued a related memo, the High Court hears.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/502160

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NAJIB Razak will make history today as the first former prime minister of Malaysia to enter his defence on corruption charges when he gives sworn testimony at his trial over SRC International trial funds at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

He will read out his witness statement which is expected to take up most of the day.

https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/202963

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Najib fails to get witness statements in preparation of his defence

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed Najib Razak’s application that he be supplied all witness statements in preparation of his defence in the SRC International case.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali also rejected the ex-prime minister’s application to adjourn the continuation of the case, scheduled from Dec 3 to 19.

Najib was exempted from attending today’s proceeding to be in Tanjung Piai.

In his ruling, he said statements taken by the investigation officer under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act were privileged and not subject to disclosure at any stage of the trial.

“It is privileged because of public policy considerations and risk of witness tampering,” he said

Nazlan said the court must follow the decisions of the highest court in the country.

He said the application for witness statements to be supplied to him was not satisfactory because the applicant had not identified which of the witnesses’s statements he required and its relevance to evidence.

“In this context, the application appears to be a fishing expedition,” he added.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Nazlan said while he agreed with the fundamental aspects of fair trial, any further changes to the law in criminal procedure must follow superior court rulings or laws passed by the legislature.

On the request for adjournment, the judge said ample notice and reasonable time had been given to the applicant to prepare and strategise the relevant arrangement.

“In my view, the request for adjournment cannot be sustained,” he said, adding that the trial will resume on Dec 3.

Earlier, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas submitted that lawyers should not take a case if they were busy and this conduct was also against the Malaysia Bar etiquette rules.

“There are 3,000 to 4,000 criminal lawyers here,” he said, adding that he was vigorously objecting to further postponement.

Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram appeared together with Thomas while Najib was represented by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Harvinderjit Singh.

Shafee is leading the defence team in all cases where Najib is facing prosecution.

On Monday, Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on all charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), abuse of power and money laundering in relation to the transfer of RM42 millio

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/15/najib-fails-to-get-witness-statements-in-preparation-of-his-defence/

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Malay Mail @malaymail

Najib opts to give sworn statement in defence over RM42m SRC corruption trial

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has chosen to give a sworn statement to answer his charges over the alleged RM42 million misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd, the High Court heard today.

The decision was relayed to High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali by a court interpreter after Najib, standing from the accused dock, informed the court of his decision.

With a prima facie established against him, Najib had three options to make his defence — by sworn evidence from the witness stand where he will be subjected to cross-examination, by unsworn statement from the accused dock, or remaining silent.

Since Najib has chosen to give a sworn statement, he will be the first to be called to the witness stand in accordance with Section 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Section 181 of the CPC stipulates that if any accused person elects to be called as a witness, his evidence shall be taken before that of other witnesses for the defence.

At the defence stage of the trial, the prosecution must also prove beyond reasonable doubt in order for the court to find the accused guilty, and subsequently convict the accused as charged.

If the prosecution fails to do so, Najib who is the accused, will be acquitted and discharged.

Earlier today Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence after the prosecution successfully proved prima facie against Najib on all seven charges.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/11/11/najib-opts-to-give-sworn-statement-in-defence-over-rm42m-src-corruption-tri/1808838

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