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Najib guilty of all seven charges related to SRC International

July 28, 2020

Following is a blow-by-blow account of live reports by Malaysiakini of today’s proceedings in the High Court

* Malaysia’s Najib gets 12 years in jail for 1MDB-linked graft case
* Najib sentenced to 12-year jail term, RM210 million fine
* KEY HIGHLIGHTS of Najib’s graft case 

Judge grants Najib stay, bail increased by RM1m

7.30pm – Judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali rules that the defence has successfully demonstrated special circumstances for a stay of execution on both the jail terms and RM210 million fine.

However, the bail amount needs to be increased by RM1 million with two sureties.

Najib will also have to report to the nearest police station on the 1st and 15th of every month.

He has until tomorrow to pay the additional RM1 million bail amount.

Prosecution argues stay of execution not allowed for fines

7.00pm – Lead prosecutor Sithambaram is objecting to the defence’s application for a stay of execution on the RM210 million fine.

This is because previous rulings had made it such that a stay can only be allowed under “very special circumstances” and the threshold for this has not been met.

He argues that the court can either decide that the fine is to be paid all at once or in instalments.

Defence counsel says client unable to pay hefty fine

6.45pm – Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh submits that Najib is unable to pay the fine as he had already been ordered by the court to pay RM1.69 billion to the Inland Revenue Board.

“Essentially, your lordship’s ruling on five years jail term on default of the fine will come in effect straight away if the fine is not paid,” he says.

He points out that Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows for a stay of execution pending appeal, which will definitely follow.

It’s 12 years jail, RM210m fine for Najib

6.30pm – Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali sentences Najib Abdul Razak to 12 years jail and fines him RM210 million for abuse of power.

As for the three money laundering and three criminal breaches of trust charges, each charge carries a 10-year jail sentence.

All the jail sentences are to run concurrently. There is no fine for the money laundering charges.

Police arrest man for trying to climb gate of court complex

6.25pm – A man was arrested by police at the main entrance of the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex.

It has yet to be established if the man was a supporter of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The suspect was kept inside the court’s security post for about 10 minutes before a police patrol car came and took him away.

In a statement later, Sentul district police chief S Shanmugamoorthy said the 33-year-old man was arrested by police when he tried to climb the court complex’s gate to get into its compound.

“The suspect has been taken to a police station to facilitate the investigation,” he said.

Najib recites ‘sumpah laknat’ again, denies knowledge of RM42m

5.30pm – After the defence and prosecution completed their submissions for mitigation, Najib addresses the court.

He begins with summarising his economic achievements during his tenure as prime minister.

“I ensured a fairer and gentler society. I was responsible for abolishing the ISA (Internal Security Act), which I was never given enough credit for. I wanted to ensure the country would not (be subjected to) abuse of power.

“In this regard, I put (forward) a proposal to implement a more transparent system for political donations. That proposal, unfortunately, requires bipartisan support, but the opposition at the time did not agree and the proposal did not see the light of day,” he says.

He ends his brief statement by reciting a “sumpah laknat” before declaring that he did not solicit RM42 million.

“I did not plan (the receipt of) RM42 million nor was RM42 million offered. There was no evidence or witnesses to state so.

“I had no knowledge of the RM42 million. Wallahu, Wabillahi, Watallahi,” he adds.

Prosecution seeks RM420m fine, imprisonment

5.25pm – The prosecution is requesting a RM210 million fine for the abuse of power offence, approximately five times the amount involved in the crime, and mandatory jail term.

As for the crime of criminal breach of trust, the prosecution is seeking a jail term of between two and 20 years as well as a fine, at the discretion of the court.

For the money laundering charge, the prosecution is seeking a jail term of not more than 15 years and a RM210 million fine, approximately five times the amount involved in the crime.

Prosecutor tips hat at the press for exposing scandal

4.50pm – Lead prosecutor Sithambaram submits during the mitigation hearing that if not for the press, the crime for which Najib has been convicted of may not have been detected.

He argues that there was complex layering in how the RM42 million was transferred into the accused’s bank accounts.

“The (money laundering) offence is made possible only by the accused’s role and position as prime minister and finance minister.

“If not for the exposure of the crimes by the press, this crime may have never been detected,” he says.

Case law submissions

4.45pm – Lead prosecutor Sithambaram is now submitting various case laws to support his arguments against those submitted by the defence.

He brings up cases involving Harun Idris, Dr Khir Toyo, Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim.

“Politicians contributed a lot to legal learning of our jurisprudence,” says Sithambaram, while chuckling.

We don’t mind standing in the rain for ‘Bossku’, says hardcore supporters

4.40pm – It has started to drizzle at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex where Najib has been convicted of criminal charges related to SRC International.

However, a small group of around 30 hardcore supporters of the Pekan MP continue to stand in front of the complex’s main entrance, braving the rain.

This includes a group of women believed to be members of Wanita Umno, who say they don’t mind standing in the rain for “Bossku”.

No intention to return RM42m, submits prosecution

4.15pm – The prosecution points out that there was no attempt to restitute the RM42 million.

Sithambaram submits that the money belongs to SRC International and Minister of Finance Incorporated.

“The excuse given was that investigations were underway. But even after the (then) attorney-general (Apandi Ali) cleared him of wrongdoing, still no steps were taken to return the money.

“It is abundantly clear there was no intention to return the money – RM42 million which came from KWAP.

“This case tarnished the country as a kleptocracy. I don’t think Malaysians deserve that,” he argues.

Prosecution wants sentence for ‘worst case imaginable’

4.08pm – The prosecution is now replying to the defence’s mitigation statement.

Sithambaram submits that the accused held the most powerful offices in Malaysia for nearly a decade as finance minister and prime minister.

“The accused owed a fiduciary and moral duty to discharge his obligations to the people.

“This conviction shows he failed in that respect,” says the lawyer.

In view of this, Sithambaram wants the court to use this case as a precedent to those who hold public office that no one is above the law.

A deterrent sentence, argues Sithamabram, must be the paramount consideration and the duty of the court is to give effect to the purpose of the MACC Act 2009.

“In this case, the sentence should look at a sentence reserved for the worst case imaginable.

“This is certainly one case,” says Sithambaram, while emphasising that RM42 million was involved.

99.9pct of money not used for Najib himself – Shafee

3.50pm – The defence team informs the court that the accused will make a statement to the court after the prosecution team replies to the defence’s submission for mitigation.

3.30pm – Shafee notes that 99.9 percent of the money utilised by the accused was not for himself.

“That is great mitigation,” he declares.

He says 45 percent of the funds was spent for political purposes, which also included welfare and other services. Charity groups received around 13.7 percent.

While noting that 0.4 percent of the funds was spent on credit card bills, the money was used to buy gifts for foreign dignitaries.

“(The accused said) the gifts were quite expensive and he could not give a basket of kain selendang (shawl),” he adds.

Najib’s only at fault in trusting people, says Shafee

3.20pm – Shafee also submits that the accused is not a corporate person and expected the board of directors of SRC International and 1MDB to be professional.

“If he was at fault, he was only at fault in trusting people that ought to run the company – 1MDB as well as SRC International.

“In certain instances, he overtrusted,” he adds.

Najib has cooperated with investigators since 2015 – Shafee

3.15pm – In mitigation, Shafee submits that the accused cooperated with the investigators since 2015 and initiated the Public Accounts Committee’s investigations into 1MDB and SRC International.

“In all these investigations by a body like Parliament, (there was) not a hint of witness tampering,” he says.

Only a handful of Najib’s supporters left outside court complex

3.15pm – As the SRC International case proceedings continue with the mitigation of sentences against Najib, only a handful of his supporters are seen in front of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex to show their support.

There were several thousands of them earlier but many have dispersed after being ordered to adhere to social distancing rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Judge disallows application to postpone mitigation

3.05pm – Mohd Nazlan disallows the application by Najib’s defence to postpone the mitigation process to Monday and wants to continue now.

Shafee puts on record that he is “crippled” because he is unable to explain the verdict nor take instructions from the accused.

Lead prosecutor: Court is duty-bound to pass sentence upon conviction

2.50pm – Lead prosecutor V Sithambaram objects to the application for an adjournment and argues that Section 183 of the Criminal Procedure Code clearly states that the court is duty-bound to pass a sentence upon conviction.

He further argues that the status of the accused on bail previous to conviction is different from a status post-conviction.

“If your Lordship intends to allow a stay, additional terms should be imposed,” says Sithambaram (below).

Najib not a flight risk – Shafee

2.45pm – In arguing to postpone the mitigation hearing, defence counsel Shafee Abdullah says his client is not a flight risk and bail should be maintained.

Shafee says Najib has paid RM6 million in bail, his passport has been held and he cannot travel by virtue of being on the Immigration Department blacklist.

“As a former prime minister, he has a police escort. The police will always police. If he attempts to abscond, they will inform the IGP immediately,” he submits.

Najib’s defence to submit application to postpone mitigation on Monday

2.20pm – Proceedings before the Kuala Lumpur High Court resume this afternoon.

It is set for Najib’s lead defence team to further submit their application to postpone the mitigation to Monday.

Mitigation is a procedure seeking the court to impose a lesser sentence on the former prime minister.

Najib was earlier convicted of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC International funds.

Police issue warning to crowd on Covid-19 SOPs

1.10pm – Police issue a warning to Najib’s supporters and also media members to adhere to the Covid-19 SOPs.

This comes as a group of Najib supporters started swarming the front gate to air their discontent over the guilty verdict against the politician earlier today.

Najib’s supporters chant outside court complex

1pm – Some 200 supporters of the former prime minister have started gathering in front of the main entrance of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex.

Appearing to be discontent with the High Court’s decision against Najib earlier, the supporters chanted “Hidup Bossku” (long live Bossku) and “Lepaskan Bossku” (free Bossku). Bossku is Najib’s popular nickname.

There were also calls by his supporters for the government to dissolve Parliament as they shouted “Bubar, bubar, bubar Parlimen!”.

Proceedings adjourn to 2pm

12.50pm – The Kuala Lumpur High Court adjourns proceedings to 2pm.

This is to allow the defence to check for case law which supports their application for mitigation in Najib Abdul Razak’s RM42 million SRC International case be put off to a separate date on Monday.

Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had earlier applied for mitigation to be set on Monday next week instead of doing it today.

Najib guilty of all seven charges

12.17pm – The Kuala Lumpur High Court convicts Najib of seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering over RM42 million of SRC International funds.

Mohd Nazlan rules that the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.

“I, therefore, find the accused guilty of all seven charges,” Mohd Nazlan rules as Najib is seen calm in the dock.

Najib failed to raise reasonable doubt against 3 CBT charges

12.12pm – Mohd Nazlan rules that Najib failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case over three criminal breach of trust charges in relation to RM42 million transfer into his accounts.

Najib didn’t send King Abdullah ‘thank you’ note

11.52am – Mohd Nazlan notes that the accused did not send King Abdullah a “thank you” note despite having received monies amounting to RM2.6 billion (based on the exchange rate at the time) ostensibly from the monarch.

Accused did not confirm ‘donation’ with Saudis

11.50am – The accused did not ask government officials, especially those in the Prime Minister’s Department, to verify with their Saudi counterparts regarding the validity of the “donation”.

“Regardless of (which) segment of the Arab royalty (was involved) and the accused’s confidence in Jho Low, the accused failed to confirm on the (veracity of the) donation from King Abdullah (made the defence argument) improbable,” rules the judge.

All roads lead to Riyadh?

11.45am – Mohd Nazlan now rules on the defence’s claim that the monies in the accused thought the money in his AmBank Islamic accounts were from a “donation” from the Saudi royal family.

The judge begins this section of his ruling by quipping: “All roads lead to Rome and (the accused) lead it to Riyadh.”

Although King Abdullah met the accused in Riyadh, the judge rules that there was no evidence that the king stated any intention to provide financial assistance to the accused or Malaysia.

The judge rules that it was only later that Jho Low informed the accused of King Abdullah’s wish to donate.

“(This was) not consistent with what King Abdullah told (the accused) in Riyadh,” says the judge.

11.45am – The group of Najib supporters who have gathered in front of the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex is starting to disperse.

This follows several warnings by the police earlier over the adherence of Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

A supporter who is still waiting says many of them have gone for lunch.

Conned by Jho Low? Too far fetched, says judge

11.35am – Mohd Nazlan rules that Jho Low fully understood his role and that there was no doubt that he was dealing with the former prime minister’s bank accounts.

He rules that it was too far fetched to suggest that the then prime minister can fall victim to a scam by Jho Low.

“It is too far fetched and self-serving to say (the accused was) conned by Jho Low,” rules the judge.

11.30am – On the accused’s written instructions to AmBank Islamic, the judge notes that the defence submitted that the accused was unaware of it.

The judge then notes that the investigation officer testified that there was no denial by the accused on the signature of the documents.

He also notes that the defence never challenged it before the commencement of the trial.

“Most importantly, the defence has not offered expert evidence that the accused’s signature was forged,” says the judge.

Najib didn’t take action over non-return of RM42m, judge rules

11.25am – Mohd Nazlan rules that the accused did not take action to inquire on matters concerning the non-return of RM42 million to SRC International on grounds that investigations were pending.

The judge notes that the accused was informed that the funds were from SRC International and that as finance minister, he was the legal owner of the company.

Accused in contact with Jho and Azlin on accounts

11.15am – Mohd Nazlan rules that “totality of evidence” shows accused knew of transactions into the three AmBank Islamic accounts but “deliberately” kept from public disclosure.

The accused’s conduct “at all times” was undertaken to ensure sufficient funds were in the accounts before spending it.

The judge rules that the “fact remains” that Jho Low and the accused’s principal private secretary at the time Azlin Alias were in contact with the accused on the bank account.

“The inference is overwhelming,” rules the judge.

Judge: Neither SRC nor Najib took legal action against AmBank Islamic

11.10am – Mohd Nazlan notes that neither SRC International nor the accused took legal action against the AmBank Islamic.

“Without any protest, there has never been any indication (of wrongdoing),” says the judge.

Gathering of Najib’s supporters sparks Covid-19 fears

11.10am – Thousands turned up outside the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex in Jalan Duta this morning to support Najib as he awaits the verdict of his SRC International trial and this has raised concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

Journalists note that social distancing is not observed while there are also those not wearing face masks.

Images of the crowd are being shared on social media whereas questions are also posted on the police and media WhatsApp group in regard to enforcement.

Defence fails to beat abuse of power charge

10.59am – Mohd Nazlan rules that the defence failed to rebut presumptions based on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 on the balance of probability and failed to raise reasonable doubt on the charge under Section 23(1) of the law.

The judge is now making a ruling on the three criminal breach of trust charges.

Najib stopped denying SRC funds recovery request by Ahmad Husni – judge

10.45am – Mohd Nazlan rules that the accused had stopped denying a request by then second finance minister and prosecution witness Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah to recover SRC International funds in Switzerland.

“The accused said the matter has to be dealt with (in a) ‘government-to-government’ manner. But evidence shows, as prime minister, (the accused) never initiated (the matter),” says the judge.

No dispute of ‘rushed’ cabinet’s approval for KWAP’s RM2b loan to SRC – judge

10.30am – Mohd Nazlan rules that there was no dispute that cabinet’s approval for the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) first RM2 billion loan to SRC International was “rushed”.

For this loan, the judge states that Najib made a request and it was ultimately conveyed to KWAP’s investment panel.

At the time, Najib was the finance minister and was thus in charge of KWAP.

Justice Mohd Nazlan delivers his verdict

10.20am – Mohd Nazlan rules that the accused was involved in the establishment of SRC International Sdn Bhd.

10.18am – Mohd Nazlan begins delivering the verdict in the RM42 million SRC International case against Najib.

Najib enters dock, court proceedings begin

10.17am – Najib enters the dock as proceedings before the Kuala Lumpur High Court begins.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is expected to deliver the verdict on the RM42 million SRC International corruption case against the former prime minister.

Also seen in the public gallery is Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa and stepson Riza Aziz.

Najib enters courtroom

9.58am – Najib enters the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Clad in a cream coloured suit, the former premier sits in the front row of the public gallery. Seated beside him is former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Also seen in the public gallery awaiting proceedings to begin are Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan and former Pahang menteri besar Adnan Yaakob.

Jamal: Case will not only affect Najib, but PN

9:50 am – Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Md Yunos tells the media outside the court that the case will not only affect Najib but also the PN government.

“Today (we came here) not for demonstration, but to show moral support for Najib,” he says.

A ‘hero’s welcome’ for Najib

9.30am – Najib arrives at the court complex and is given a hero’s welcome by his supporters.

Several top Umno leaders are also seen in the vicinity, including president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, his deputy Mohamad Hasan, secretary-general Ahmad Maslan and youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

So far, no prominent figures from parties allied to Umno have been spotted.

Najib then walks into the court building under heavy guard by his security personnel without addressing the media.

Reporters allowed into courtroom

9.28am – Journalists from local and international agencies are allowed to enter the Kuala Lumpur High Court where the verdict is set to be read out.

Reporters yet to enter courtroom

9.15am – Reporters are yet to be allowed into Judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s courtroom. Court police have indicated that they will be allowed in at 9.30am, at the earliest.

There is limited seating for the press, who had to draw straws a few days prior. Most will have to contend with a video-link facility.

The court is also barring the press from covering any other proceedings today to limit the number of people in the court complex.

Ahmad Maslan hopes ‘truth will prevail’

9.05am – Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan hopes that Najib will be exonerated by the Kuala Lumpur High Court of all charges.

“I hope the truth will prevail, and he will be released by the court today,” he tells reporters when met outside the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex.

Ahmad and other supporters of Najib are waiting for the BN advisory council chairperson to arrive for the case decision.

Najib’s supporters come in droves

8.50am – More than 3,000 of Najib’s supporters have converged outside the Kuala Lumpur court complex.

Clad either in red or blue, many bearing the familiar “bossku” phrase on their T-shirts as a sign of reverence for their leader, these supporters came from all over the country.

One of the women from Najib’s Pekan constituency says they travelled throughout the night, arriving at the court complex at 5am.

7.20am: Najib will know today whether he is found guilty or can walk free from seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT), and money laundering involving RM42 million of funds from SRC International.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court is set to announce the verdict against the former prime minister at 10am.

This will cap a trial that has seen 57 prosecution witnesses and 19 defence witnesses take the stand during a hearing that has lasted over a 100 days since it first began on April 3 last year.

Today’s end-of-defence decision by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will be the first against Najib in the multiple ongoing 1MDB-linked criminal cases against the accused.

The other criminal cases against Najib that are still either being heard or pending before the Kuala Lumpur High Court are the RM2.28 billion 1MDB abuse of power and money laundering case, the 1MDB audit report tampering case, the RM6.6 billion IPIC (International Petroleum International Corp) CBT case, and the RM27 million SRC International money laundering case.

Seven charges

Today’s verdict is in relation to one count of abuse of power, three counts of CBT, and three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million of monies from SRC International.

SRC International was a former subsidiary of 1MDB, before it became fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc).

Najib was then chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisors, SRC International’s advisor emeritus as well as finance minister.

The abuse of power charge is in relation to Najib’s role in approving RM4 billion in loans from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to SRC International.

The charge is framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which specifies a maximum penalty of 20 years’ jail, a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The three CBT charges are in relation to the RM42 million that flowed into his bank accounts.

The three charges are laid out under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years’ jail, fine, and whipping (however if convicted, Najib, who just turned 67 on July 23, would be spared the whipping penalty due to his age).

The three money laundering charges are in relation to the RM42 million that was transferred into his bank accounts.

These three charges were made under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, carries a penalty of a jail term of up to 15 years, and RM5 million fine or five times the amount involved, whichever is higher.

On July 4, 2018, Najib was charged with one count of abuse of power and three counts of CBT. Later on Aug 8 the same year, he was charged with the three money laundering counts.

On Nov 11 last year, Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence to all seven charges, following the court’s finding that the prosecution succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against the accused.

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