KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will know on Nov 11 whether he will be called to enter his defence or walk free on seven charges of abuse of power, corruption and money-laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totalling RM42 million.
High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali confirmed the date today at the conclusion, after 58 days, of the prosecution’s case which commenced on April 3.
The judge also expressed his gratitude to the prosecution and defence for their comprehensive oral submissions.
In the staggered hearing extending seven months, the prosecution called 57 witnesses, among them, former second finance minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, ex-treasury secretary general Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah and Najib’s former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping.
The prosecution in its submission underlined that the former finance minister and Pekan MP had actual knowledge of SRC funds amounting to RM42 million being deposited into his personal bank accounts as disclosed in the bank statements.
The prosecution emphasised that Najib as the number one person in Malaysia at that time could not possibly be too ignorant that he never once questioned or sued the bank over the substantial amount in his account.
Ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram submitted that Najib personally transferred money and issued cheques out of his accounts knowing full well that he had available funds.
He said the accused’s claim about being ignorant about the funds that were credited into and cheques issued out of his accounts especially since he was the Finance Minister of Malaysia, managing the finance of the entire country, could be accepted as credible.
The court also heard that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low never utilised any of the funds in Najib’s three current accounts therefore, he (Jho Low) did not gain anything by depositing funds into the accounts.
Sithambaram said Najib could not claim that he had no knowledge of the funds because he was always ready to issue cheques without a second thought.
In CBT, he said, the offences are complete when there was dishonest misappropriation, as in the case of the RM42 million.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas submitted that Najib orchestrated the SRC fraud from the very beginning and benefited from it for more than three years.
Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in his submission reiterated that hearsay-based evidence presented by the prosecution witnesses throughout the trial should not be admitted.
He contended that a statement claimed to be made testimonially by a person who is not in the witness box should not be used as the witness must only testify based on something that happened in front of them and perceive it with their senses.
“A factum of information is not equal to a factum of truth. In this case, Jho Low represented that he represents Datuk Seri Najib. That is not admissible because it has nothing to do with the state of mind of Najib.
“The facts are absolutely critical because this is a court of record, hearsay has got to be excluded. Yang Arif has got to be strict on this,” Muhammad Shafee said.
In closing his submission, Muhammad Shafee insisted that his client had no dishonesty, no dishonest intention, and no knowledge that the money came from illegal sources.
“With all that I have submitted, in relation to the factual dynamics of this case, with the lack of knowledge pertaining to the sources of money, this is a case that Yang Arif should not call for the defence, purely to satisfy the curiosity of what he (Najib) is going to say.
“That is not a court function. You don’t call for the defence just to know what Datuk Seri Najib is going to say.”
Sithambaram countered, “I can assure you, it is not for the joy of hearing”.
Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million. – Bernama