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SRC Trial: Prosecution asks why defence didn't raise forgery concern earlier

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 20): The prosecution in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial has questioned why the defence did not bring up the issue around the allegedly "forged" documents before the prosecution closed its case, following the defence's application to bring in a handwriting expert to verify Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's signatures on several documents.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Datuk V Sithambaram said the prosecution had narrowed down the disputed exhibits to seven documents, comprising shareholder minutes, shareholder resolutions and a bank transfer instruction.

He said these documents show that the accused was effectively micromanaging or carrying out operational matters of the company.

"It is ridiculous that the defence is also disputing their own exhibits, D534 and D535, which are also shareholder minutes.

"At that point of time, they were quite content of tendering the documents without knowing the full extent of the impact the documents would have — that it would show the accused as a shadow director," said the DPP.

Sithambaram also rebutted the defence's point about Najib being shown the photocopies of the documents instead of the originals, and said the accused should have asked for the original documents back when the photocopies were tendered as evidence.

"He previously admitted that he had seen the documents and acknowledged that they were copies. Now that it suits [the accused], given that the documents show that he is a shadow director, he is reversing his stance," said the DPP.

He further said the prosecution's case is based on direct evidence, as Najib previously stated that the documents were signed by himself when he gave his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and never brought the matter up to the investigating officer that the documents may have been forged.

This is why the prosecution did not call an expert to verify the documents, he said.

Meanwhile, he also said it does not matter whether Najib was shown the photocopies or original documents, pointing out that on one occasion when the accused was shown an original document with his signature on it, he still could not confirm whether he did sign the document.

"The defence only brought this issue up after we closed our case.

"It puts us in a disadvantage that we cannot come out from. They had the opportunity before to show that these documents were forgeries and yet they are only bringing it up now," said Sithambaram.

"The defence's application is not bona fide and it was made for some ulterior motive. It is not in the interest of justice," added the DPP.

The defence today applied for 13 disputed documents, which have been tendered as exhibits in the trial, to be made available for examination by an expert document examiner, one Dr Steven J. Starch.

Najib is battling seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million from SRC, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

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