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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Najib and his 'evidence'


It’s better to be late than never. But sometimes, procrastination on issues and taking time to put matters right would convey the wrong message.
After months of silence when one source after another insinuates on impropriety, the inability to rebut instantaneously can only be read that that subsequent and delayed responses become indefensible.
In early July 2015, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) broke the story that almost US$700mil (RM2.6bil) belonging to the 1MDB, flowed into the then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s personal accounts before the 13th general election.
The 1MDB refuted the claim, while Najib denied taking any funds for his personal gains, and accused (current) premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad for being responsible over the latest “lie”.
The Star then quoted an unnamed Najib’s political secretary saying that the prime minister would sue WSJ, describing the accusation thrown against him as a “criminal defamation” and would sue the US-based publication.
Najib’s lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun sent a letter to Dow Jones, the publisher of the WSJ to clarify its stand in a bid “to provide better legal advice to the prime minister in future”.
“The article is not clear on whether they are alleging that the money is from 1MDB or not. We want the WSJ to tell us what their position is. Once that position has been taken, then it is easier for me to advise my client,” he was quoted as saying.
Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of WSJ confirmed responding to the request for clarification from Najib’s lawyers said that it will continue to stand by the accuracy of its reports.
Meanwhile, Najib’s then deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (photo) claimed he had met the wealthy Arab family who had donated the RM2.6 billion.
He said the “king and prince”, whom he did not name, had donated the money because of Malaysia’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and being a moderate Muslim country with a plural society.
“Those were the answers given to me when I asked them the reason for their donation. They have also helped other Islamic countries,” he was quoted as saying.
Months and years went by but Najib did not sue nor was there any explanation from his lawyers as to why they not proceeding with the defamation suit.
With such solid information, Najib should have sued WSJ as there was ample evidence and Zahid could have testified on his behalf. He would have been vindicated and perhaps remained as the prime minister.
Instead, Najib went into a cocoon refusing to address the issue. The media was asked to black out news on the issue and the cyber troopers went into overdrive “leaking” supposed letters from the Saudi royal family.
Anything said about the WSJ report and the donation was termed “fake news” by his handlers and watchdogs. He made things much worse by blocking websites, sacking his then deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.
He also dispensed with the services of the attorney-general and the head of the MACC. To prevent further damage, the Anti-Fake News Bill was promulgated hastily pushed through Parliament.
Yesterday, Najib came out with Facebook posting, complete with documents to claim that money in his account did come from the Saudis.
But the letter looks somewhat familiar. Didn’t a similar letter surface in 2016? But something positive should come out for Najib from the latest documents.
The first thing Najib should do is to ask his lawyers to issue a letter of demand to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) which implicated him in a voluminous report. He was not named, but by insinuation and confirmation by his one-time ally, Abdul Rahman Dahlan that MO1 and Najib are one and the same person.
Perhaps, now with all the “new” evidence, he should appoint an attorney in the US to take on the DoJ and the WSJ – two birds with one stone.
On the local front, he should go after Mahathir who has called him a thief, and Tony Pua, who has explicitly and openly said that Najib received money from 1MDB.
Najib should not forget The Edge which over a period of time provided the timelines and the methodology on how the funds ended up in his account. Also on the line are journalists and news portals which had commented on this issue.
Laymen cannot comment on the authenticity of the bank documents. He would have to subpoena the bank officials. As for the letter, Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia will have to make an appearance in court and affirm that he wrote and signed the letter for it to be adduced as an exhibit, failing which, it will not be admitted as evidence.
But is Najib up to it?
Footnote: Was it not Najib who attempted to silence the media with a gag order when criminal charges were proffered against him last month?
Is he not exposing his defence (and ignoring the subjudice rule which his lawyers argued for? But judging from posts on the social media, very few, believe in the latest round of documents on the internet.

R NADESWARAN says that the prosecution has to prove its case and not for Najib to prove his innocence. Hence these documents can only appease his die-hard supporters. Comments: citizen.nades22@gmail.com. -Mkini

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