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Day 74: Najib: “I’m not stupid to put stolen money into my account”

February 4, 2020

The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd enters day 74 today at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.

Summary of Najib’s SRC RM42 million case

Najib is facing 7 charges relating to RM42m involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • I did not recuse myself from loan guarantee discussions, says Najib
  • Najib reiterates he has no personal interest in SRC International
  • Gov’t guarantees for RM4 billion loans to SRC not predetermined, Najib testifies
  • SRC initially writing to Najib did not override KWAP power
  • Prosecution wraps up cross against Najib
  • Najib does not know if gov’t guarantees for RM4b loan to SRC ever laid before Parliament.
  • You do not put stolen or bribe money into your account, Najib says.

1pm – Proceedings will resume after lunch break at 2pm

12.58pm – Taking money from Mof ‘ludicrous’

Former prime minister and finance minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies that it would be ludicrous for him to take money from a Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) company like SRC International.

The accused says this during re-examination by defence counsel Farhan Read, who is asking about the prosecution’s assertion that the accused planted cronies on the board of SRC to transfer RM42 million into the accused’s bank account.

Najib testifies that this is strengthened by the fact that there is no written evidence that he specifically instructed for the transfer the RM42 million into his account as a bribe for him to ensure approval for the government guarantee on a related RM4 billion loan to SRC.

“I have been in government for a long time, prime minister for nine years. It is ludicrous for me to take money from an MKD (MoF Inc) company (SRC) to begin with in some way or manner and put it in my personal account.

“If I had a criminal mind to cheat, I would be a stupid person as you do not put stolen or bribe (money) into your account, as a lot of people would know about it, as Bank Negara would know.

“I may not be the smartest person but I am not that stupid. Cannot go on a matter of conjecture.

“There is no evidence that (I) directed RM42 million (from SRC) be put into my account. It has never happened before in the years I have been in government,” Najib says.

I did not recuse myself from loan guarantee discussions, says Najib

12.30pm – Former Premier Najib Abdul Razak said he never recused himself from the cabinet meeting during loan guarantee discussions for the RM4 billion loan as there’s no other family members in it.

“Because it did not involve family members. All finance ministers never recused themselves in similar matter in the past.

“The other person who normally advise would be secretary to the cabinet, Tan Sri Masidah, who normally advised ministers if they need to recuse themselves.

“She never advised me to recuse..no basis for me to recuse myself,” he said.

Najib reiterates he has no personal interest in SRC International

12.20pm – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak reiterates that he has no personal interest in SRC International, the court hears.

The former finance minister and ex-advisor emeritus of SRC International says this during re-examination by defence counsel Farhan Read.

Farhan is asking about the prosecution’s cross-examination of Najib over the alleged lump sum disbursement of the billions of ringgit in loans from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International.

SRC International became fully owned by Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) in early 2012.

“It has been stated several times that I have no personal or pecuniary interest in SRC. I have stated over and over and I will continue to state this,” says Najib.

11.53am – Proceedings resume after a short break.

11.21am – Proceedings is paused for a short break

Govt guarantees for RM4 billion loans to SRC not predetermined, Najib testifies

10.50am – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies that the Cabinet approval for the government guarantees for the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) RM4 billion loans to SRC International was not predetermined.

During re-examination by defence counsel Farhan Read, Najib says this is because Cabinet ministers can give their views and can oppose any cabinet paper presented by the premier.

Farhan is asking about an issue raised by the prosecution during cross-examination, on whether the government guarantees had already been predetermined to be approved.

“Certainly not. Cabinet members can give their views and even papers presented by the prime minister can be turned down by the Cabinet.

“Ministers are free to give their views on the paper,” Najib says.

SRC initially writing to Najib did not override KWAP power

10.12am – Najib Abdul Razak testifies that SRC International initially writing to him for a RM3.95 billion loan did not override the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) powers to decide on the merits of the loan application.

During re-examination by defence counsel Farhan Read, the former finance minister says that it was done just to start the process and that he (Najib) cannot override the power of KWAP to decide on the merit of the loan application.

“This would start the process to consider the (loan) request by SRC. It does not mean I was going to override powers of the (KWAP) investment panel.

“According to the law, the investment panel has absolute authority to decide. As a minister, I cannot override that,” Najib says.

Najib also points out that the fact that KWAP only greenlighted a RM2 billion loan to KWAP in 2011 rather than RM3.95 billion loan, proved this.

Prosecution wraps up cross-examination against Najib

10.04am – DPP V Sithambaram (above) wraps up his cross-examination against Najib Abdul Razak.

In reply to a series of questions by Sithambaram, Najib denies having any knowledge of the RM42 million in his bank account between Dec 2014 and Feb 2015.

Sithambaram then wraps up his cross-examination, with defence counsel Farhan Read beginning re-examination of the accused.

Najib does not know if gov’t guarantees for RM4b loan to SRC ever laid before Parliament

9.52am – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak testifies that he does not know whether the Cabinet approval for government guarantees for the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) RM4 billion loans to SRC International was ever laid before the Dewan Rakyat.

The former finance minister says this during the final round of cross-examination by DPP V Sithambaram.

“I do not know. It is the job of the functionaries. It is an administrative action,” Najib replies.

Sithambaram’s question is premised over Section 2(3) of the Loan Guarantee (Bodies Corporate) Act 1965, which states that “the minister shall, as soon as possible after a guarantee under this section is given, lay before the Dewan Rakyat a statement of the guarantee together with a copy of the agreement aforesaid.”

Sithambaram: This government guarantees were never laid before the Dewan Rakyat?

Najib: I do not know.

Sithambaram: The purpose of laying it before the Dewan Rakyat is for all (members of parliament) to know?

Najib: Yes, for transparency.

Najib also admits that no Parliament Hansard could be produced to confirm whether it has been laid before Parliament.

9.49am – Najib Abdul Razak enters the witness stand as proceedings before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali begins.

Also seen in court is DPP V Sithambaram, who is expected to spend another hour to wrap up cross-examination of the former prime minister.

The accused’s lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is expected to begin re-examination of Najib after the prosecution is done with cross-examination today.

9.25am – Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the Kuala Lumpur High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to await for the RM42 million SRC International trial to begin.

The RM42 million SRC trial will start a bit later today as the former prime minister’s defence team has to attend to a separate High Court matter this morning.

The separate proceeding is in respect of a court decision on an application by Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and their daughter Nooryana Najwa to inspect items seized by MACC during the 1MDB investigation.

The defence team today gets the opportunity to re-examine Najib Abdul Razak in the defence stage of the former prime minister’s RM42 million SRC International trial.

When the 74th day of hearing before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes after 9am this morning, veteran lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will re-examine the accused.

Today is the first-day of Najib’s re-examination, following the prosecution having wrapped up cross-examination of the accused on Jan 23.

As outlined under the law, re-examination is an opportunity for Najib, through questions by his defence team, to explain any issue that cropped up during cross-examination by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and DPP V Sithambaram.

Back on Jan 23, while under cross-examination by Sithambaram, Najib among others testified that it was difficult to get members of the Saudi royal family to vouch for the authenticity of the billions of ringgit that the accused received as donations.

Najib, who was also former finance minister and SRC International’s advisor emeritus, is on trial over seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering of RM42 million in funds from the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) company.

The accused was also the former chairperson of the board of advisors of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which used to have full-ownership over SRC International.

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