KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 3): Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the core of the defence's case in proving Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's innocence will be on the fact that the former prime minister had no knowledge and no involvement in matters which resulted in the transfer of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd into his accounts.
In his opening speech outlining the defence case today, Shafee said his team will also prove that the surrounding circumstances has led Najib to believe that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, was a close associate to the royal family of Saudi Arabia.
In relation to this, the team will also prove that the monies Najib received from 2011 to 2014 were in fact donations from King Abdullah.
The defence also defends Najib's innocence as he was made to understand that — throughout the period from 2011 to 2015 — matters relating to the opening of his corporate social responsibility (CSR) accounts and the remittances into the accounts had been duly reported to Bank Negara Malaysia and former governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
As such, he had no reason to believe that anything sinister was taking place in the accounts.
Shafee also justifies that Najib's utilisation of the funds from the accounts from 2011 to 2015 were almost all for CSR-related matters to promote political, social, charitable causes and community related projects.
The amount utilised for personal matters was minimal and in any event was done in the belief that the monies could be utilised by him as he deemed fit, according to Shafee.
Therefore, he argues that Najib never intended to wrongfully gain or enrich himself with any of those funds and never intended to cause wrongful harm to any party.
In proving the defence case, the team will produce additional evidence including the secretarial documents and records of SRC, as well as the meeting between Najib and King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
With these evidences, the defence submits that it will establish that Najib had in fact acted in the best interest of the country with regard to matters involving SRC.
It will also establish that there was no misuse of office, no corrupt arrangement in which gratification was offered, solicited or caused to be received by Najib.
Furthermore, the evidence will prove that Najib was never an 'agent' or 'director' of SRC that was in control of the company and certainly not entrusted with dominion over funds of SRC either directly or indirectly.
The defence contends that the prosecution has failed to establish the predicate offences and as such could not prove that the RM42 million were derived from illegal activities.
Consequently, the defence argues that the circumstances would justify that there was reasonable excuse for Najib to believe that the funds in his account were not the proceeds of illegal activity.
In conclusion, the defence calls for Najib to be acquitted and discharged of all the seven charges against him in the SRC trial.
In this trial, Najib is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his powers and three counts of money laundering involving SRC funds totalling RM42 million.
The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.