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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Najib: I let Rosmah pick RM500k gift to make up for my abrupt departure



SRC TRIAL | Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak said he had let his wife Rosmah Mansor pick out her own birthday gift - a watch - to make up for having to abruptly leave his family in Hawaii to return to deal with a flood crisis in Malaysia.
Najib told this to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur when asked to clarify a US$130,625 (RM543,530) charge to his credit card at Chanel in Honolulu, which investigators claim was paid using funds originating from state-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd, but which the Pekan MP said was from donations.
Najib. was being examined by lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah. Shafee had asked Najib to explain why he had given his wife the luxury watch, which was purchased on Dec 22, 2014.
"At the time, I was holidaying with my family in Hawaii and there was major flooding, particularly in Kelantan, the worst in 70 years.

"I was following the flood developments in Malaysia closely, particularly in the East Coast, and I found it necessary to cut short my holiday in Honolulu to return home to visit the flood victims.
"I explained to my family and they were sad that I had to leave them and return to Malaysia immediately," he said.
Najib explained that it was around the time of Rosmah's birthday.
"That was why they felt disappointed. My son Ashman, who worked in Istanbul had gone to Honolulu only to find out that I was not there.
"Therefore, I made the decision to placate my family and to buy something of my wife's choice," he said.
He maintained it was all right to make the purchase as he said the "donation" was for him to utilise at his discretion.
"That was the only purchase I did for personal purposes, I did not use the card for other purchases," he said.
Asked if he had given such an expensive gift before, Najib replied "no".
During the examination, Najib also took the opportunity to explain that he had only departed from Hawaii after golfing with the then US president, Barack Obama (above), due to national interest.
"I waited until after the golf game with President Obama as it was important for Malaysia.
"Many do not know that a golf game is long and the president has to stay for five hours. It is a very good space for (matters) of national interest," he said, adding that it was an opportunity to establish good relations with the "most powerful man".
"I waited until after the golf game and rushed home," he said.
Najib had come under criticism for the Christmas Eve golf game in 2014 as images of him teeing off with Obama was contrasted with images of desperation from the flooding in Malaysia.
Najib said: “I took a commercial flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong then a Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft took me to Kota Bharu. It took a day and I was alone.”
It was previously reported that while Najib had left alone, his official jet was tracked to have flown from Hawaii to Los Angeles, then Indianapolis, London, Dubai and finally Bangkok.
Najib said in Kota Bharu, he had visited various places with the Kelantan menteri besar.
"I remember I was asked to drink soup there and came down with a colic illness. It was very bad and I was down for three to four days," he said.
Najib is standing trial for seven charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power involving RM42 million in funds from SRC International.
The case is being presided by High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. - Mkini

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