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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

'Unreliable' testimony should've sunk SRC case against Najib, court told


The unreliable key testimony of former SRC International director Suboh Yassin should have collapsed the prosecution’s RM42 million corruption case against Najib Abdul Razak, the Court of Appeal heard.

The former premier’s lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today told the three-person Court of Appeal bench that Suboh gave inconsistent testimony during the RM42 million SRC International corruption trial against former prime minister Najib.

Shafee (above) pointed out that during the trial, 42nd prosecution witness Suboh admitted during cross-examination that his signatures on six letters authorising the transfer of funds into Najib’s personal account may have been forged.

During Najib’s RM42 million SRC trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 2, 2019, Suboh had agreed with the defence’s suggestion that the witness’ signatures, on documents authorising the transfer of funds from two companies into Najib’s account, may not have been his.

This contradicted the former SRC International director telling the prosecution a day earlier (July 1, 2019) that he signed the bank documents himself.

The bank documents were in relation to the alleged transfers of RM42 million from Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (GMSB) and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) to Najib’s bank account. It is the prosecution’s contention that the funds were from SRC.

Najib’s defence team had then contended that Suboh’s admission contradicted the statement he gave to the MACC in relation to the alleged transfers of funds from the two companies into Najib’s account.

Suboh was the authorised signatory for the bank accounts of SRC and GMSB.

Today's hearing was for Najib’s appeal to quash his conviction and sentencing in relation to seven charges linked to RM42 million of funds from SRC.

During the proceedings, Shafee submitted that High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali should have disregarded Suboh’s testimony as being unreliable.

Shafee submitted that the prosecution’s case against Najib should have collapsed earlier on at the High Court stage and Najib should never have been called to enter his defence on the one charge of abuse of power, three counts of money laundering and three counts of money laundering.

'No credible evidence'

Shafee noted this was because the crux of the prosecution's case rested on Suboh's oral evidence on the alleged monetary trail of the RM42 million.

“Suboh is a witness of many faces, initially appearing as a face of truth then admitted to perjury in relation to the witness statement.

Former SRC International director Suboh Yassin

“He (Najib) could have been acquitted without his defence being called. There is no credible evidence on who caused such instruction letters to be sent to the bank to cause a transaction of RM42 million,” Shafee said.

“A maximum evaluation of the evidence adduced in the prosecution’s case would have resulted in the conclusion that PW42 (42nd prosecution witness, Suboh) was at best incredible and at worst a completely unreliable witness.

“In light of this, there was, in fact, no credible evidence to establish how exactly the funds relating to the RM42 million were transacted out of SRC and GMSB  to IPSB (Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd) on Dec 24, 2014, Feb 5, 2015, and Feb 6, 2015,” Shafee said.

“The learned trial judge cannot be without PW42. If he had exercised his judicial mind, he would have immediately discarded PW42 as unreliable. The learned judge ignored all these (issues surrounding Suboh), thinking he (Suboh) would do service to the prosecution’s case,” Shafee said.

The hearing, chaired by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, resumes at 9am tomorrow. The other members of the panel are Court of Appeal judges Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Has Zanah Mehat.

On July 28 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur convicted Najib on one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), and three counts of money laundering in relation to RM42 million of funds from SRC.

Nazlan had then sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and a fine of RM210 million.

However, the High Court allowed Najib's defence team's application to stay the execution of the sentence pending the disposal of his appeal.

SRC was a former subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. The company later became fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.

Besides being prime minister at the time, Najib was also the finance minister, advisor emeritus of SRC and chairperson of 1MDB's board of advisers. - Mkini

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