KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had actual knowledge over the RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd money in his accounts, the High Court was told today.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said, in fact, Najib had used the money for his benefit and spent it for various purposes including RM2.3 million for shopping in Italy.
“The evidence adduced in court is that he was spending the monies; it shows that he had actual knowledge of the monies in his three accounts.
“The monies went into his accounts; we have to trace back the events that led to it…whether Datuk Seri Najib ought to have known it or turned a blind eye,” he said in the prosecution’s reply to the defence’s submissions.
Today is the third day of hearing of the oral submissions at the end of the defence case.
He said the accused throughout his testimony maintained that he did not know the inflow of funds into his private accounts as he did not manage his accounts.
“When the accused was confronted to provide a reason why Datuk Azlin (his principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias) or Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (former CEO of SRC) would not have told him that RM27 million and RM5 million had entered into his account on Dec 26, 2014 (being the subject matter of two of the CBT charges), he was unable to provide any reason and simply said ‘I don’t know why’.
“This is no ordinary accused but the Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia. Hence the accused’s attempt to show lack of knowledge of his multi-million account is a pure fabrication and ought to be rejected,” said the prosecution.
He said Najib in his evidence said he had no knowledge of RM42 million paid into his accounts in December 2014 and February 2015 although he said Azlin was managing his accounts on his behalf.
“Why would Datuk Azlin not tell him of the arrival of the RM42 million into the accused’s account? Why would the accused not know of this RM42 million when he spent the same? asked the DPP.
He said the accused admitted of the RM10 million equivalent to the RM49 million that went into account 880, only a sum of RM848,000 was left before the RM42 million came into his account.
“In either case the accused knew or ought to have known that RM42 million had been credited into his account. Without knowing the credit how did the accused spend the RM42 million?” he added.
He said Najib’s defence was that he was not responsible for the credits into his accounts but only responsible for spending the monies i.e. debits in his accounts.
The DPP further argued that the accused downplayed Jho Low’s (fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho) role by stating that Jho Low was dealing with Nik Faisal and Azlin with regard to his accounts.
“Whether Jho Low was dealing with the accused, Nik Faisal or Datuk Azlin, it is clear that Jho Low was dealing with the accused’s accounts and with the accused’s knowledge and consent,” he said.
Sithambaram described as ‘fascinating’ Najib’s claim that he never looked at his bank statements for five years.
He said Najib had confirmed that the bank statements were kept by Nik Faisal with the knowledge of Azlin.
He further said that Jho Low’s role was to ensure that the bank statements of his boss (Najib) remained confidential.
The DPP said the bank statements were critical as each of them would show actual knowledge of the accused over the money in his accounts.
“Why the accused did not want to take possession of his bank statements particularly his three accounts?…Both Nik Faisal and Azlin had access to the bank statements as confirmed by Datuk Seri (Najib).
“It is not disputed that the accused could have obtained the bank statements from Nik Faisal or from the bank at any time.
“The accused as an account holder is entitled to the bank statements. The bank statements were not kept away from the accused but the accused kept away from the bank statements,” he said.
On the alleged forged signatures on several SRC documents when Najib was giving his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Sithambaram said the issue of the authenticity of Najib’s signatures suddenly cropped up during the defence stage trial when they (defence) never clearly challenged the originality during the prosecution case.
“The prosecution finds it absurd that the accused claimed that he is doubtful of his signatures on the disputed documents, only after being told that the original documents were not tendered during the trial.
“The burden of proving that the signatures were forged falls on the defence, provided that it was them who brought up the matter that the signatures may have been forged,” he said.
Sithambaram further submitted that there was no burden on the prosecution to disprove forgery for the accused, especially when the accused had confirmed with the investigating officer those were his signatures.
“The defence even insisted to bring in an expert from Australia to examine the allegedly forged signatures, although nothing was done to that effect.
“As abruptly as this application was filed (to bring in expert), the demise is equally as quick. The defence later informed the court that an impasse has arisen relating to the expert’s appointment.
“The defence should have appointed another expert if there was any truth in their claim (regarding forged signatures) but that was not done, especially he needed to verify his signatures. However, nothing transpired in the defence to rebut or relook at this,” he said.
Najib is facing seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The Pekan MP allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Ambank Group Building, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan here and at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, between Aug 17, 2011 and March 2, 2015.
The hearing of the submissions before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.