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Prosecution in SRC trial asserts Najib had absolute knowledge of RM42m in his accounts

KUALA LUMPUR (June 3): The prosecution in Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial contended that the former prime minister had absolute knowledge of RM42 million from SRC which ended up in his accounts.

Appointed prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram pointed out an oddity — that when Najib removed Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as the chief executive officer (CEO) of SRC amid complaints about financial misconduct, he but still kept the latter as the mandate holder.

Another oddity was that although Nik Faisal was removed from the CEO role, he still remained as a company director and signatory to SRC’s accounts.

Sithambaram said in his submissions this morning that this was a scheme devised by Najib to facilitate monies from SRC through Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd into his accounts.

“Although Nik Faisal was removed as the CEO, he wasn’t removed as the company's signatory and mandate holder of Najib’s accounts. Why he was not removed? This was because Najib wanted Nik Faisal to control both accounts, so that he could facilitate the millions going in from SRC,” he said before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Najib, testifying in his defence earlier this year, had said that he removed Nik Faisal as the CEO following complaints by SRC's chairman at the time, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, that Nik Faisal was not a man of integrity.

Datuk Azlin Alias, Najib's deceased former private secretary, initially proposed that Nik Faisal be the former premier's mandate holder.

Najib had testified that he kept Nik Faisal on at SRC to ensure continuity of the company.

Sithambaram said that this was one instance showing that Najib had knowledge of the RM42 million ending up in his accounts.

The ad hoc prosecutor also questioned Najib’s ignorance of the fact that the monies were in his accounts.

He said Najib should have known the balance of his accounts, given that the former prime minister had funds of RM27 million and RM5 million coming into the accounts, which were an advance. The money was then returned.

“Ordinarily, even if a multimillionaire says he did not know that RM42 million came into his accounts, he would be laughed at,” the prosecutor said.

He questioned how Najib would have known the exact sum to return if he did not know the balance of his accounts.

Sithambaram also raised the issue of the defence’s forgery claims regarding Najib’s signatures.

“When Najib gave his statement to the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), he did not say that the signatures were forged. In fact, he admitted that he signed the documents without qualifying his statement,” Sithambaram said.

He added that it was not incumbent upon the prosecution to prove that Najib’s signatures were forgeries.

“There is no burden on the prosecution to disprove forgery for the accused, especially so when the accused had confirmed with the IO (investigating officer) that those were his signatures," Sithambaram said.

Earlier in the trial, the defence had sought to call in a handwriting expert to dispute and verify the authenticity of the alleged forgeries.

Although the court allowed this move by the defence, it never materialised and the forgery claims were then put to rest.

Sithambaram also poked holes in Najib’s assertions that he never kept track of his account statements because he trusted Nik Faisal, as well as the defence’s claims that Jho Low had schemed to keep the statements away from Najib.

"The bank statements were not kept away from the accused, but the accused kept away from the bank statements," Sithambaram said.

He added that Najib had confirmed on the stand that Azlin and Nik Faisal had access to the bank statements.

Sithambaram said Najib, as the account owner, had the right to access the statements at any time and therefore there was no scheme to keep the statements away from Najib.

“All these facts show that there was actual knowledge,” the prosecutor said.

Najib is facing criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money-laundering charges involving the transfers of the RM42 million SRC funds into his accounts.

He is also charged with abusing his power by approving government guarantees for loans worth RM4 billion from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) or Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) to SRC.

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