SRC International trial

Najib aware of funds put in his accounts: Prosecution

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak arriving at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 16, 2019.
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak arriving at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 16, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Questions raised over vast sum in closely watched corruption trial of ex-Malaysian premier

When RM42 million (S$13.7 million) was deposited into two of Najib Razak's bank accounts in 2015 from SRC International - a company then under state fund 1MDB - was the former Malaysian premier even aware of this? And if he was, did he know the money was illegitimate?

These questions lie at the heart of Najib's SRC International trial as both the prosecution and defence laid out their submissions at the tail end of the closely watched case yesterday.

Malaysia's public prosecutor said Najib was complicit in the whole affair as he did not lodge a police report, even though he was said to be in "shock" at seeing the huge sum of money in the accounts.

Najib faces seven charges over the misappropriation of the RM42 million.

His defence lawyers, on the other hand, said the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

Since July 4, the court has heard testimonies from 57 witnesses.

Najib faces another 25 charges in a separate, ongoing trial of receiving RM2.1 billion of 1MDB funds.

Malaysia's public prosecutor said Najib was complicit in the whole affair as he did not lodge a police report, even though he was said to be in "shock" at seeing the huge sum of money in the accounts. Najib faces seven charges over the misappropriation of the RM42 million.

 
 
 
 

In written submissions nearly 300 pages long yesterday, Public Prosecutor and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said: "The accused did not lodge any police report or write to the bank to enquire/question why these unauthorised funds came into his accounts.

"He did not commence any legal action against the bank, which has now led to him being charged with criminal offences.

"The accused's expression of shock and being upset was pure drama. By his conduct, the accused has proved that he has committed CBT (criminal breach of trust)."

But Najib's defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh argued otherwise.

"The bulk of evidence, in fact, leads to reasonable inferences that the transactions involving the RM42 million were carried out without Najib's knowledge and involvement, and the impetus and purpose was unconnected to any act by Najib."

SRC, described as "a two-dollar company" by the prosecution as it was formed with a paid-up capital of RM2, had received RM4 billion from civil servant pension fund KWAP in loans guaranteed by the Finance Ministry, the court heard. Najib was both prime minister and finance minister at the time.

During the trial, the prosecution detailed how the money was used for private spending, including purchasing designer items, luxury jewellery and hotel stays.

The submissions continue today. The trial will continue from Dec 3 to Dec 19 if Najib is ordered to enter his defence. The High Court will deliver a decision on whether he has to enter his defence on Nov 11.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Najib aware of funds put in his accounts: Prosecution'. Print Edition | Subscribe