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SRC trial: Prosecution seeks to impeach former PM for making conflicting statements

January 7, 2020

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Former prime minister Najib Razak arrives for his SRC trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 6, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International corruption trial took a twist today after the prosecution invoked impeachment proceedings against the former prime minister for giving contradictory evidence.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram applied to challenge the credibility of Najib’s testimonies provided to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the latter’s own testimonies given to court on the witness stand in regard to whether Najib had seen certain documents and signed them.

The application was made under Section 145(1) and Section 155(c) on the Evidence Act.

Under Section 155(c) of the Evidence Act, the credit of a witness may be impeached in the following ways by the adverse party or with the consent of the court or by the party who calls him by proof of former statements inconsistent with any part of his evidence which is liable to be contradicted.

Defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah arrives for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 6, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Najib’s defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, objected to the application, stating that an impeachment did not make any sense and would only be relevant if there was an unexplained contradiction in the statements of the witness.

He argued that Najib, as the witness, has already provided an explanation for the difference in the statements.

“It is my duty to point out that the invocation of this process is wrong in law.

“Second, this is laborious and time consuming and ought not to be taken casually. Thirdly, what is it Yang Arif can see, would it be relatively different, is there a dramatic difference?” he added.

Muhammad Shafee also claimed the impeachment proceeding was not bona fide as it sought to “drown” the defence’s application in seeking an expert testimony that is to be heard tomorrow.

Datuk V. Sithambaram is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex December 19, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Sithambaram then stood up and argued that Muhammad Shafee was “missing the point” of the impeachment.

“My learned friend is missing the point. His (Najib) explanation here is not true reason and (Muhammad Shafee) not seeing it. If this supplementary statement was in the MACC statement, I wouldn’t be standing here,” he said.

Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

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