Najib’s defence a ‘cock and bull’ story, says prosecutor – Free Malaysia Today

Prosecutor V Sithambaram says it was Najib who was playing a trick by trying to bury the obvious truth about the funds in his account.

PUTRAJAYA: Najib Razak’s defence during the SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial was so bizarre that it was an “own goal”, the Court of Appeal was told today.

“In fact, the appellant’s (Najib) defence is a cock and bull story,” ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram told a three-member bench chaired by Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.

The lawyer , who was given a special licence by the attorney-general to prosecute this case, also described the defence as so convoluted that they “scored an own goal” and said some parts of the defence were an afterthought.

Sithambaram said Najib had come up with ridiculous stories, especially about fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, his private secretary, the late Azlin Alias, and SRC International chief executive officer Faisal Ariff Kamil, to put up his defence.

He said Najib had blamed them and claimed that he was not aware of transactions involving his personal bank accounts.

However, Sithambaram said evidence revealed that Najib and Jho Low, were the best of friends and it was absurd for him to now claim that the businessman had “fixed” him.

“There is no credibility to his defence,” he said, adding that Najib knew it was Jho Low who was putting money, including funds from SRC, into his accounts.

However, one of Najib’s defence is that he believed whatever he spent and cheques issued was actually the balance from an Arab donation.

“It is absurd for Najib to contend that Jho Low put funds into the personal bank accounts of the (then) prime minister to trick him into believing that he had funds, which he did not!

“It has to be remembered that Jho Low, Azlin and Nik Faizal were tasked with ensuring sufficient funds were available to him (Najib) to issue cheques. How can this be a trick?

“It is Najib who is playing a trick by trying to bury the obvious truth. His defence is nothing but a cock and bull story,” he said.

Sithambaram said evidence had shown that Jho Low was intensely involved in ensuring there were sufficient funds for Najib to spend.

He pointed out that even Najib had admitted that Jho Low was tasked, together with Azlin and Nik Faisal, to ensure there were sufficient funds available to him.

“Whatever Jho Low did was done with the full knowledge of the appellant. Jho Low did not deceive Najib into thinking he had Arab funds in his account.

“It is Najib who misled the court by claiming he believed the money he was spending was actually from an Arab donation.

“In actual fact, the funds were from Jho Low, who was bankrolling Najib. Blaming Jho Low for ensuring that Najib had adequate funds in his personal account is simply outrageous,” he said.

Sithambaram said there was no logic in Najib’s story as anyone with knowledge of basic mathematics would have known that the RM42 million was not from Saudi royalty, as the donation money had dried up much earlier.

He said this was an apt case to describe as “money growing from trees” because Jho Low pumped money into Najib’s bank accounts for him to spend freely.

Sithambaram said Najib’s knowledge of money entering his accounts could also be imputed from his own inactions in July 2015, when he was informed personally of the matter by Ihsan Perdana (IPSB) managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman.

This prosecution witness was detained by anti-graft investigators who found that his company’s account was used to remit the RM42 million to Najib.

“Although the appellant (Najib) expressed ‘shock’ and said he was ‘upset’ when told so, he elected to do absolutely nothing about it,” he said.

Sithambram said Najib’s conduct was clearly inconsistent with his feigned innocence about these deposits.

Further, he said the former CEO of  Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Ung Su Ling also informed Najib of the same transfers (from IPSB into his personal bank accounts). Again, unsurprisingly, he did not do anything about it.

“The appellant did not lodge any police reports about these deposits into his bank accounts nor did he make any enquiries with the bank or attempt to take any legal action,” he said.

Najib is accused of abusing his power as the prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

He was also charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and three money laundering charges in relation to RM42 million belonging to SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

Last July, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali sentenced him to 12 years’ jail and ordered him to pay a RM210 million fine after finding him guilty of seven corruption charges in relation to the RM42 million belonging to SRC International.

The hearing continues.

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