SRC case: Eight takeaways from the judge’s verdict

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On July 28, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (above) took two hours to deliver his judgment which convicted former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Below is a summary of the key issues raised by the judge on Tuesday.

It doesn’t matter what Apandi Ali said in 2016

Defence witnesses former DPP Dzukifli Ahmad and former attorney-general Apandi Ali attempted to cast doubts on the prosecution’s case by testifying that the latter had cleared the accused of wrongdoing in relation to SRC International in January 2016.

Nazlan noted that since then, the MACC had recorded statements from 76 new witnesses and taken more statements from existing witnesses.

“Even though (Apandi) and (Dzulkifli) decided that the investigations had by then been completed based on what had been gathered by the MACC as recorded in the investigation papers, for the purpose of this instant or any trial, any pronouncement of this court must be based on evidence produced to the court trying the case.

“To put it simply, the opinion of (Apandi) and (Dzukifli) cannot replace the evidence before this court to arrive at its decision,” said the judge.

In other words, whether Apandi cleared Najib or not was deemed irrelevant due to new evidence.

Najib’s request, or order?

Nazlan said Najib’s involvement in SRC International began with SRC’s letter on Jun 3, 2011, requesting approval for the company to obtain an RM3.95 billion loan from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

Eventually, that application was approved, with a reduced amount of RM2 billion. SRC subsequently applied for another RM2 billion loan and this was also approved. These loans were only approved after the cabinet, chaired by Najib, issued guarantees.

Nazlan ruled Najib had influenced Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah (prosecution witness number 45) and then KWAP CEO Azian Mohd Noh (PW38) to secure the compliance by KWAP’s investment panel in approving the loans.

Najib’s request to Wan Abdul Aziz (his subordinate) was recorded in the minutes of the investment panel’s meeting for the first RM2 billion loan, noted Nazlan.

“In my view, if it was not the case of PW45 and PW38 obeying the instructions of the prime minister and finance minister (Najib), it is manifest that they considered the influence of the accused to be sufficiently predominant so as to ensure that the investment panel was also apprised of the stance of the accused on the same,” ruled the judge.

In view of this, and several other factors, the judge ruled that the accused’s argument that he was merely making a request and that due process must follow were therefore invalid.

Najib was giver and receiver

Nazlan also noted Najib headed the government and participated in cabinet meetings which guaranteed RM4 billion in financing to SRC International which “directly” caused the accused to be in a position of access to funds in the company.

“The approvals by the cabinet benefited SRC which was controlled by the accused himself.

“There is no necessity for there to be any arrangement between the accused and any other party for gratification to be received to prove the presence of criminal intention,” said the judge.

Najib didn’t show concern for SRC

Nazlan ruled that Najib didn’t show any concern for how SRC, a state-owned company under his ministry, used the RM4 billion loaned from KWAP.

There was no evidence that Najib was concerned as to whether SRC fulfilled its stated goals of promoting national energy strategic initiatives and there was no action to recover the funds frozen by Swiss authorities.

Was AmBank Islamic complicit?

On the defence’s assertion that AmBank Islamic officers were complicit in a scam to defraud SRC, the judge noted that neither SRC nor its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd took any action against the bank.

He also ruled that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was the mandate holder for SRC’s and Najib’s accounts in question.

“Although (eventually) removed as the CEO of SRC for governance issues, Nik Faisal continued to be a member of the board of directors and more importantly, remained a signatory of the SRC and Gandingan Mentari funds as well as the mandate holder of the accused’s personal accounts.

“The inference is that his signature was necessary to effect the transfer of funds including as directed by the accused such as this transfer of RM42 million into the accused’s accounts,” said the judge.

When Najib knew it was SRC money, he didn’t return it

Nazlan said Najib eventually knew that the RM42 million originated from SRC after being informed by Urusan Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd head Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman (PW37) and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) CEO Ung Su Ling (PW49).

However, Najib did not return the money on grounds that investigations were pending.

All roads lead to Riyadh?

The judge noted that Najib’s defence relied heavily on his belief that the money he was spending was from foreign remittance from King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

‘Wilful blindness’

The evidence, said Nazlan, showed that Najib did not ensure that the RM42 million received were not proceeds of unlawful activity nor that the monies were lawful.

Nazlan said he drew the conclusion that Najib deliberately chose not to question or probe what “plainly” required verification so that he could deny knowledge.

“This is willful blindness,” said the judge.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/536827

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