PUTRAJAYA (April 15): The RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd was just a scam to gratify former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Court of Appeal heard today. 

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram contended that the defence's argument that SRC's business plan to develop renewable energy for national interest is not supported by facts as there is no evidence to show for it. 

In fact, he argued that SRC had only “commenced business” by transferring out money to Switzerland in a fixed deposit when KWAP had disbursed the loan in 2011 and 2012.

Sithambaram highlighted that Najib was actively involved in ensuring the KWAP funds were made available to SRC but after the company received the funds, the former prime minister suddenly became indifferent and did not inquire what SRC did with the funds.

"Why is that so? There is only one answer to this: that the appellant (Najib) having acquired his premeditated plan to obtain RM4 billion loan for SRC took no interest, except that RM42 million of the SRC funds went into the appellant’s account and some RM3 billion went to a Swiss Bank account. The above evidence of the appellant does not inspire confidence that the RM4 billion loan to SRC was really to secure the energy needs of this country," he said.

Sithambaram today was submitting the prosecution's case for Najib's appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal against his conviction of all seven charges related to SRC. 

The appeal is being heard before a three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil. The other two judges on the bench were Justices Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

"The appellant’s evidence as to the utilisation of the RM4 billion by SRC showed that the appellant was not interested in what happened to the funds after SRC had received the said funds purportedly, for use in the national interest. It is both startling and revealing that this RM4 billion loan was a sham," Sithambaram added. 

It was previously reported that around RM3.6 billion out of the RM4 billion loan from KWAP was sent out of SRC to a financial institution in Switzerland for a fixed deposit, which ended up being frozen by the Swiss authorities.

During his submission, Sithambaram also pointed out that Najib went out of his way to ensure the full drawdown of both of the loans from KWAP even before the issuance of the government guarantees, demonstrating that he was indeed micro-managing SRC. 

This, Sithambaram added, also confirmed that the former prime minister's actions and conduct were not of professional interest but actually personal interest.

"We submit that absolutely nothing was achieved by the RM4 billion drawdown and moreover the drawdown was an operational matter for the SRC board of directors and not a policy matter that required intervention by the appellant as a shareholder.  

"It is shocking that the appellant did nothing to ensure that the objective of the loan for national energy venture projects was met after the loan was disbursed and we add that nothing was also done until the appellant left office in 2018," he said. 

On July 28, 2020, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and fined him RM210 million after Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali found him guilty of all seven charges linked to the SRC case. The seven charges included one for abuse of power involving KWAP's RM4 billion loan to SRC, and three charges each of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering involving RM42 million.

Both the custodial and fine sentences were stayed pending the appeal against the conviction and sentence passed. The hearing at the Court of Appeal continues next Monday (April 19). 

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