Highlights of Najib’s defence in SRC trial on Dec 3 & 4

KUALA LUMPUR: Last Dec 3, for the first in the country’s history, a former prime minister took the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law.

Testifying from the witness box as the first defence witness, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, 66 (pix), told his side of the story to rebut the seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds against him.

Najib, who swore in both Bahasa Melayu and English, read out part of his 243-page witness statement during examination-in-chief by his defence counsels.

Following are the highlights of testimonies from Najib before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Justice Mohd Nazlan had, on Nov 11, ordered the Pekan MP to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to SRC funds after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.

Day 1 (Dec 3) :

Najib admitted in the High Court that he minuted the Malay word bersetuju (agree) on a letter from SRC seeking his approval, as the finance minister, for a RM3.95-billion loan from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan Diperbadankan (KWAP).

He said he minuted the word for his own attention to indicate his support for the SRC loan application.

The former prime minister said as the matter at that time was still current and had caught his eye, he decided to extend his support to the application submitted by SRC on June 3, 2011.

Nevertheless, he said, the word bersetuju did not mean that it was final and cannot be changed.

“The matter was subject to scrutiny by officers who, at times, gave differing opinions. As such, the word bersetuju did not mean a carte blanche agreement. It did not prohibit differing opinions to be offered and considered,” he said.

Najib, who was the finance minister and Advisor Emeritus of SRC then, also told the High Court that he did not know that the company planned to borrow RM3.95 billion from KWAP.

He said that he was not aware of the matter and was not informed that a letter, dated June 3, 2011, from SRC to get approval on the loan would be sent to him.

“The letter informed about the initiative that led to the loan application proposed by SRC. Probably, I was informed about it before I received the letter. I cannot remember clearly what initiated the proposal, but it must have been substantive enough, especially when I gave my support to SRC,” he said.

Day 2 (Dec 4) :

The High Court heard that a total of US$1.05 billion (RM3.2 billion) from Saudi Arabia was deposited into the personal AmBank account of Najib between 2011 and 2013.

Najib in his witness statement said a total of US$99,999,976.00 (RM304,329,765.73) was credited in 2011; US$269,999,985.59 (RM831,919,489.84) in 2012 and US$680,999,976.00 (RM2,081,476,926) in 2013.

When asked by his lawyer Rahmat Hazlan whether he was aware of the exact transactions involving the AmBank account ending with 694, between the years 2011 and 2013, Najib replied: “I did not know the details of each and every credit transaction into the 694 account at that time.”

Asked if he knew on the amount received, Najib said he only knew about all the transactions when his statement was recorded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Najib also testified that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was the person who arranged meetings between him and King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia during several of his visits to Riyadh and Jeddah.

He said prior to his official visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2010, Low had told him that King Abdullah was impressed with Malaysia’s ability to practice moderation in accordance with the teachings of Islam and equality between Muslims and non-Muslims.

“According to Jho Low, King Abdullah wanted to confer me Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour, King Abdulaziz Order of Merit (1st Class) during my visit in January 2010,” said Najib.

He said in mid-2010, Jho Low told him that King Abdullah had agreed to provide support to him in the form of personal donation.

According to Najib, he was not informed about the amount or date the donation would be received.

“From 2011 to 2014, I received a huge sum of money which I believed was the donation from King Abdullah as a sign of his support,“ he said, adding that Jho Low had also informed him that the total amount of the donation would be between US$100 million and US$200 million.

Najib told the court he believed that Jho Low was the person who handled the donation on behalf of the Saudi Arabia royal family.

Asked whether he was surprised by such a huge amount received, Najib said: “It may seem a lot, but I know that the Saudi royal family is known for their generosity.”

Najib testified that the claims made by former Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah that he (Ahmad Husni) was treated as an office boy ‘is a comedy’.

To a question by his counsel, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, that he (Najib) had instructed Ahmad Husni to stay out of the SRC and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) affairs, Najib denied on issuing such a directive.

Asked why Ahmad Husni wanted to take revenge and held a grudge, Najib said he believed this was because the former had been transferred out of the Ministry of Finance to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), and used the witness stand as a stage to voice his grouses (against Najib) openly.

The hearing continues on Monday for Najib to continue his testimony. — Bernama