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Monday, December 9, 2019

Day 61: Defence to apply for Aussie expert to examine documents



The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd enters day 61 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 apply for Aussie expert to examine documents
  • Najib finishes reading his witness statement
  • Defence will next call on former AG Apandi Ali to testify
  • Najib: Apandi had absolved me of any wrongdoing
  • Shamsul Anuar also a victim of deceit, says Najib
  • Najib: Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling is Jho Low's accomplice
  • Jho Low took steps to hide manipulation, irregularities
  • No more Saudi donations expected after the death of King Abdullah
  • Political spending not for personal benefit, says Najib
  • Najib offers justification on credit card spending
  • Najib didn't want to spend public money RM3.28m jewellery purchase
  • I have no personal interest in SRC, says Najib
  • Ahmad Zahid Hamidi takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery
  • Najib in Hawaii when letter authorising bank transfer was signed
  • Najib claims he never instructed SRC to transfer funds to Ihsan
  • Najib says illogical for him to accept SRC money into his bank accounts
  • Azlin allegedly told Najib that King Abdullah sent more donations in 2014
  • Najib says he was unaware that bank account had red flag
  • Najib claims he never saw bank statements for his three accounts
  • Najib surrendered management of bank accounts to Azlin
  • 'I was told funds in my new accounts came from the previous account'
  • I believed I had absolute discretion on the donations, says Najib
  • I never spoke with Jho Low on the opening of three bank accounts - Najib
  • 'New accounts opened to better manage donations'

Thank you for following Malaysiakini's live report
4.30pm - Thank you for following our live report today.

Defence to apply for Aussie expert to examine documents
4.20pm - The High Court orders Najib Abdul Razak's legal team to make a formal application over their bid for an Australian handwriting expert to examine the court document exhibits previously tendered by the prosecution, among others.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made the order following heated arguments between the defence and the prosecution on whether the defence needs to make a formal application before the expert could be allowed to examine the documents.
Najib's defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh submits that the examination is necessary because there were issues previously raised by the defence over the authenticity of certain documents purportedly signed by Najib, among others.
DPP V Sithambaram counters that a formal application is required because the defence should have raised the matter much earlier during the prosecution stage of the trial.
Sithambaram labels the defence's attempt as an ambush, which causes both him and Harvinderjit to go into a near shouting match with each other before Nazlan calms down the situation.
Harvinderjit then informs the court that the defence will make a formal application by the end of the week.
Nazlan then allows proceedings to adjourn for the day and to resume at 9am tomorrow.

Najib finishes reading his witness statement
3.56pm - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak finishes reading his witness statement, which is of a total 243 pages containing 317 questions and answers.

Defence will next call on former AG  Apandi Ali to testify
3.30pm - Najib Abdul Razak's defence team will next call on former attorney-general Apandi Ali (photo, below) to testify in the RM42 million SRC International trial against the former prime minister.
The accused's defence counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed tells the High Court this during open-court proceedings this afternoon.
The court is informed about this following a disagreement between the defence and the prosecution over the defence's application for the court to mark Apandi's media statement in 2016 as an exhibit.
The 2016 press statement was where Apandi declared Najib to be absolved of wrongdoing in the SRC International issue.
Wan Aizuddin wanted to mark the press statement as an exhibit while DPP V Sithambaram said that it should be not be marked as so, as the maker of the document was not in court to attest to the veracity of the document.
Wan Aizuddin then informs the court that the defence will call Apandi to attest to the press statement.

Najib: Apandi had absolved me of any wrongdoing
3.20pm - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that until today, he is still holding on to then attorney-general Apandi Ali's media statement that absolved him of any wrongdoing in relation to the SRC International matter.
He was reading out his answer from a prepared witness statement to a question contained in the said statement, as to why he did not lodge a police report in concerning a meeting with Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling.
Najib said he did not make a police report, or made any statement in 2015, on the issue of the RM42 million transferred into his account as he did not wish to disturb then-ongoing investigation into the matter by the Attorney-General's Chambers, MACC, Bank Negara and the police's joint task force.
"Finally in 2016, when the attorney-general (Apandi) at the time made a statement that investigation has been done and reported to the AGC that there is no statement in regards to knowledge of wrongdoing against me (IDD770 court exhibit on the media statement by Apandi). 
"I hold on to this until today," Najib says.

Shamsul Anuar also a victim of deceit, says Najib
3.05pm - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak says that he believed Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd managing director Shamsul Anuar Sulaiman was deceived into transferring monies from the company to Najib's accounts.
Najib said he had met Shamsul in July 2015 after the latter was released from remand detention.
Shamsul had then told Najib that he transferred the funds under orders of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia executives Ung Su Ling and Dennis See, not knowing that the destination accounts belonged to Najib.
Both Ung and See had also allegedly refused to reveal to Shamsul from who the orders for the transfer originated and told Shamsul that the transfers were for corporate social responsibility.
"Dr Shamsul apologised to me, but I could not say that he is to be fully blamed.
"He was deceived by Ung Su Ling and Dennis See," Najib testifies.

Najib: Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling is Jho Low's accomplice
2.45pm - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that his former chief private secretary Azlin Alias was cheated by both Jho Low and SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.
The former prime minister also tells the High Court that Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling was an accomplice of Jho Low.
Najib says Azlin was duped by Jho Low and Nik Faisal in response to a question in his prepared witness statement on whether Azlin was in cahoots with the businessperson.
Najib says the late Azlin was a person of integrity and respected in all matters, and he was not informed about the true state of Najib's accounts.
"Therefore, I believe that Azlin was cheated by JL (Jho Low) and Nik Faisal who used their influence in banking, and could manipulate the situation for further interest with my account but also very clearly in relation to SRC," Najib says.
In relation to Najib's testimony that Ung (photo) was an accomplice of Jho Low, the former premier says this in response to a question in his witness statement on Ung's testimony that she was ordered by Azlin for Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd to do transaction into Najib's account in Dec 2014 and Feb 2015.
"I believe that Ung Su Ling was not telling the truth. The statement that my lawyer prepared for the trial showed that Ung Su Ling was an accomplice of JL (Jho Low) and carrying out JL's orders.
"Ung Su Ling has nothing to support her contention that Azlin was involved in the transaction. I believe that Ung Su Ling was using Azlin's name as a way to break (memecahkan) the role played by JL," Najib says.

Jho Low took steps to hide manipulation, irregularities
2.40pm - The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak on his take about steps allegedly taken by fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, to ensure cheques issued by Najib would not bounce.
Answering his lawyer's question, the former prime minister said he believes that Low had taken steps to activate resources and deposit funds into his (Najib) accounts to prevent him from being suspicious and start asking questions.
"...This would make me find out what really happened, which I had been misrepresented, over the funds in my accounts.
"This is especially with efforts taken to ensure that banking statements were also hidden from me, for the same reason," he says.
Najib claims that any investigation would uncover other things as well, which is now evident to him now, including the fact that Jho Low and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil had been manipulating SRC funds, and they had allegedly been cheating other SRC directors as well.

Proceedings resume after lunch break
2.38pm - Proceedings resume after lunch break, with Najib Abdul Razak continuing his testimony.
12.55pm - Proceedings break for lunch and expected to resume at 2.30pm.

No more Saudi donations expected after the death of King Abdullah
12.53pm - The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak that he decided to close his three Ambank accounts in 2015 as he was not expecting further donations.
Asked by his lawyer why he thought so, Najib says he believed that donations from Saudi royal family would stop with the death of King Abdullah in January that year as the contributions were personally made by the king.

Political spending not for personal benefit, says Najib
12.48pm - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak says the monies he spent on political activities were not for his personal benefits.
According to him, funds distribution for political purposes were not made to buy support.
He claimed that recipients were also not picked based on such basis.
"It is the duty of every Umno president and BN chairperson to secure funds for the party. This had been done by each and every Umno president and BN chairperson before me.
"Overall, the disbursement is based on needs. In other words, they (the recipients) would come to me and inform that they need funding for politics or their activities.
"I did not spend the funds to gain support or openly buy votes. These expenditures are especially for the political communities and welfare activities," Najib says.

Najib offers justification on credit card spending
12.36pm - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak reiterates his belief that he was justified in using money in his account for the credit card spending of US$130,625 at Chanel, Honolulu, in Dec 2014 and RM127,017.46 for a hotel stay at Shangri-La, Bangkok, in January 2015.
On the amount spent in Honolulu, he says it was a birthday gift for his wife Rosmah Mansor and the hotel stay at Bangkok was for his meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss how the Thai government could help Malaysia tackle its flood problem.
"As I have stated, I am of the view that I had the right to use the funds if I felt needed. Furthermore, I was quite clear on the spending," Najib says, adding that the total spending only showed that his whole personal spending amounted to 0.4 percent of the funds in his account.
Najib says this on the breakdown of the spending charged to his credit card from August 2013 to March 2015.

Najib didn't want to spend public money RM3.28m jewellery purchase
12.25pm - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that he wished to avoid using public money when spending RM3.28 million at the De Grisogono jeweller in Sardinia, Italy, in 2014.
The former prime minister tells the High Court this in light of the existence of one of his AmBank accounts which contained funds he believed he had absolute discretion to use.
Najib claims that the money spent at De Grisogono was to buy jewellery for the wife of Sheikh Ahmad, who was then prime minister of Qatar, in order to further diplomatic ties between Malaysia and the middle eastern country.
"I did not want to use public funds for the purchase of the gift, and I thought that since the account (AmBank) already existed, it is proper to use this account in comparison to public funds, on my honest belief (kepercayaan saya yang telus) that the funds in the account could be spent on my absolute discretion and that it would benefit Malaysia," he says.

I have no personal interest in SRC, says Najib
12.20pm - The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak that he did not excuse himself from cabinet meetings that discussed matters related to SRC International as he did not have any personal interest in the company.
This was different than several instances when the cabinet was discussing matters related to companies where his family members are involved.
"Before this, I have declared having a personal interest and excused myself from cabinet meetings as required under the code of ethics. The first example was when the cabinet was making decisions related to CIMB when my brother Nazir Abdul Razak was its chairperson.
"Another example was when (the cabinet was making) decisions related to MRCB when my brother Johari Abdul Razak was its director in 2015.
"I would declare my interest and excuse myself from the cabinet decisions," he testifies.
Najib also claims that in his 33 years of experience in the cabinet, he had never seen any minister in charge of the Treasury having excused themselves from cabinet decision makings on any companies owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated as they were there on formal interests instead of personal.
"It had never come to my mind that there are conflicts and such. MOF Inc as a whole owns hundreds of companies, and when it comes to cabinet meetings, it was never recorded in the history of the cabinet that the Finance Minister or Finance Minister 2 excusing themselves," he says.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery
12.15pm - The Umno president and former deputy prime minister is seen paying attention to the testimony given by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in the latter's defence against the RM42 million SRC International case.
It is understood that Ahmad Zahid came to court today for his Kuala Lumpur High Court trial involving alleged corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving millions of ringgit of Yayasan Akalbudi's funds.

Najib in Hawaii when letter authorising bank transfer was signed
11.36am - Najib Abdul Razak testifies he was not aware of a document purportedly signed by him authorising interbank transfers as he was on a personal visit to Hawaii with his family and golfing with then US president Barack Obama.
The former prime minister says this against a testimony previously heard by the High Court that former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu had a letter of directive that was purportedly signed by Najib to allow the transfers of RM27 million from account 880 to Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd (PBSB) and RM5 million from Account 906 to Putra Perdana Construction (PPC) on Dec 24, 2014.
"At or around Dec 24, 2014, I was in Honolulu in transit to Kuala Lumpur. I was in Honolulu as part of a personal trip with my family, where at the same time, the golfing session was arranged with the (US) president at the time, Barack Obama.
"The meeting and golfing session with the president was reportedly widely by the media. After I was informed of a terrible flood that hit the east coast (of Malaysia at the time), I quickly made arrangements to come back to Malaysia.
"At Kota Baru, I was given a briefing about efforts to tackle the floods and spent my time there. This was widely reported by the media.
"Therefore, I never ever seen or signed the P277 document (court exhibit on the letter purportedly signed by Najib to allow the transfers) that is said to have been executed on Dec 24, 2014," Najib says.

Najib claims he never instructed SRC to transfer funds to Ihsan Perdana
11.30am - Najib Abdul Razak denies having any knowledge of SRC International funds being transferred to his bank accounts in 2014.
The former prime minister tells the court that he did not give any order, nor cause anyone to make such transactions to transfer monies from SRC to Ihsan Perdana through Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.
"I cannot explain how the transfers of these funds were ordered. I do not have any knowledge about the transfer of fund from SRC to IPSB and then to my accounts.
"I only learned about the details of the transactions around July 2015 when the matter was sensationalised by the Sarawak Report," he says.

Proceedings resume after break
11.22am - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak resumes his testimony.
10.53am - Court goes for a short break

Najib says illogical for him to accept SRC money into his bank accounts
10.45am - The court hears from Najib Abdul Razak that he had no knowledge whatsoever about RM27 million that went into his two bank accounts in July 2014 had originated from SRC International.
He also tells the court that it doesn't make sense for him to willingly receive money that originated from a company belonged to the Minister of Finance Incorporated into his personal bank accounts.
"No one had reported this matter to me. It was also something obvious that I was not informed of the truth on the origin of the funds in my new accounts.
"If I had known that the monies came from SRC, I would not have accepted them. Looking at the surrounding circumstances, it is something that is insane and illogical for me to agree willingly to receive funds that belong to MOF Inc company into my personal accounts," Najib says.

Azlin allegedly told Najib that King Abdullah sent more donations in 2014
10.35am - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that his then-chief private secretary Azlin Alias had in 2014 informed him about additional donations from King Abdullah.
According to the former prime minister, he was also shown a letter dated June 1, 2014, as a proof of the contribution by the Saudi king.
Najib says this when answering a question from his lawyer Rahmat Hazlan on six banking transactions in 2014, where about of RM49 million was transferred in six transactions into Najib's 880 account, purportedly under Jho Low's orders.
"I did not know in details (of these transactions). As I have said, I was informed by Datuk Azlin in 2014 that there were foreign currency transfers into my accounts, said to be further donations from King Abdullah.
"I was shown a letter dated June 1, 2014, as prove and was informed that the same letter had been given to the bank.
"I was also made to understand that the transfers were informed to Bank Negara Malaysia as donations from King Abdullah, where Ambank had brought the letter to the attention of Tan Sri Zeti (then governor of Bank Negara)," he says.

Najib says he was unaware that bank account had red flag
10.22am - The High Court hears from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that was not aware that AmBank had issued a money laundering red flag against the transactions in his account.
The accused says this in relation to a question in his prepared witness statement whether he was aware that the bank issued a warning under Amla (Anti Money Laundering Act) against the transfer of RM12 million in stages into his three accounts 880, 906 and 898.
Previously, former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu testified for the prosecution that in an attempt to regularise the three accounts, Jho Low had caused RM12 million to be transferred to the accounts.
"No, not at all. I would not have let this happen. At that time I was prime minister and also a well-known political figure in the country.
"If the news was to be revealed that the bank accounts registered under my name had been given a warning by BNM (Bank Negara Malaysia) for the transfer of RM12 million, it would have definitely been used by the opposition in an effort to damage my reputation," says Najib.
"I humbly ask this honourable court to see this act as would not be a rational one. I did not know about this incident. If I had known about this, I would have immediately checked the transactions in the new accounts as this would show I was not informed about the true situation," Najib adds.

Najib claims he never saw bank statements for his three accounts
10.10am - Former premier Najib Abdul Razak claims that he had never seen bank statements for the three accounts he opened with Ambank in 2013.
The politician testifies that he only knew during the trial that Jho Low had allegedly taken steps to prevent him from getting the statements.
He also denies ever authorising any electronic transfers of funds from any of the accounts.
"Not in my knowledge. I would have never done so as my intention was only to use the funds as per cheques that I issued," he says.

Najib surrendered management of bank accounts to Azlin
10am - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak says he had given the responsibility to handle all three of his new bank accounts opened with Ambank in 2013 to the late Azlin Alias, who was his chief private secretary at the time.
According to him, he did not realise then that 10 cheque books he received were only for two of the accounts.
"When I was given these cheque books by Azlin, he told me that these were for the new accounts that I opened.
"I did not realise at that time that there were no cheque books for the other account.
"Once more, I would like to stress that I had surrendered the management of my accounts to Azlin, whom I trusted.
"The cheques were cashed by me after Azlin advised me whether the accounts had funds in them. I do not remember if Azlin ever mentioned that there was no cheque book for one of the accounts," Najib says.

'I was told funds in my new accounts came from the previous account'
9.58am - The court hears from former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that when he was informed about the opening of new bank accounts in 2013, his then-chief private secretary Azlin Alias had handed him a total of 10 cheque books.
The former premier says that if his memory serves him right, he was also told that funds in the new accounts came from the balance of another of his bank account.

I believed I had absolute discretion on the donations, says Najib
9.54am - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that he believed he had "budi bicara mutlak" (absolute discretion) to deal with monies in his three Ambank accounts as a confirming letter from then Saudi ruler, King Abdullah, and information on the donations had been informed to Bank Negara.
While reading out from his witness statement, the former prime minister says this in relation to the use of monies in the 898, 906 and 880 accounts.
Najib says that around 2014, he was shown a letter dated June 1, that year, from a representative of King Abdullah like three similar past letters in relation to donations into Najib's accounts.
"I was made to understand that the existence of the donations and the letter had been reported to the bank, BNM and (then BNM governor) Zeti (Akthar Aziz) directly.
"This formed the basis of my belief that the amount in my new account was funds that I could use on my absolute discretion," he says. 

I never spoke with Jho Low on the opening of three bank accounts - Najib
9.35am - Najib Abdul Razak testifies that he never communicated with Jho Low on the opening of three AmBank accounts ending in 880, 906 and 898.
While reading out from his witness statement, the former prime minister says he was shocked that the bank would deal with the wanted businessperson despite Jho Low never been given the authority to deal with the three accounts.
Najib is answering a question in the witness statement on whether he communicated with Jho Low over the opening of the three accounts. This is in relation to AmBank's former relationship manager Joanna Yu's (photo) testimony that she informed Jho Low over the opening of the three accounts linked to Najib.
"Never at all. Again, I am shocked why the bank management dealt with JL (Jho Low) when he was never given the authority at all to deal with the bank in relation to my account," Najib says.
Najib also denies that he had ever given the order for the names of the three accounts be the following: 1MY for account 880, MY for account 906, and Y1MY for account 898.
This is in relation to Yu's testimony that Jho Low directed her to get approval to use the above three names for the new accounts linked to Najib.
The three accounts were allegedly involved in the transfer of RM42 million of SRC International's monies into Najib's account.

'New accounts opened to better manage donations'
9.30am - The court hears from former premier Najib Abdul Razak that he opened three new bank accounts in 2013 to better manage contributions as several parties were expected to channel donations through him.
According to Najib, these parties were interested to contribute after they realised about his contributions for welfare through political, social and CSR programmes from 2011 to 2013.
He testifies that another account which had been opened earlier, ending 694, was closed as he wanted to return a huge sum of unutilised donations to its donor. 

Najib enters the witness stand as proceedings begin
9.24am - Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the witness stand to resume examination-in-chief, as proceedings begin before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
9am - Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to wait for proceedings to begin.
He is expected to resume reading out from his prepared witness statement as part of the examination-in-chief in the defence stage of his RM42 million SRC International trial.

Najib Abdul Razak will testify today regarding the closing of his AmBank account ending with the number 694 and the opening and operating of accounts ending with numbers 880, 906 and 898.
These are among contested issues that the former prime minister will delve into his trial today for his alleged involvement in abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT), and money laundering linked to RM42 million of funds from SRC International.
The “694” account is the one in which the accused claimed to have received hundreds of millions of US dollars in donation from the Saudi royal family between 2011 and 2013.
In 2013 alone, Najib claimed to have received US$680 million, which he also claimed to have returned most of the said funds.
The “880”, “906” and “898” accounts are linked to Najib allegedly receiving a total of RM42 million into his bank accounts, via multiple banking transactions, between late 2011 and early 2012.
These three accounts formed the crux of the prosecution’s case of Najib’s seven charges, with one for abuse of power, three for CBT, and three for money laundering.
On Nov 11, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled that the prosecution succeeded in establishing a prima facie case (legal term meaning on the first impression, is correct unless successfully rebutted by the defence) against Najib.
SRC International was a subsidiary of troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, before the company’s ownership was transferred to the Minister of Finance Incorporated in 2012.
Najib was then the finance minister as well as advisor emeritus of SRC International and chairperson of 1MDB board of advisors.
The defence stage of Najib’s trial will resume before Nazlan this morning, with the accused expected to continue to read out from his 243-page prepared witness statement.
[More to follow] - Mkini

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