Incorrect to say Najib had direct control over 1MDB - Lawyer (Updated)

23 Apr 2021 / 18:39 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today was told that it is incorrect for the prosecution to say that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pix) had direct control over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) for the latter to exercise his power which allegedly caused the money from the sovereign wealth fund to flow into his personal bank accounts.

Lawyer Tania Scivetti representing Najib said based on the affidavits of Senior Assistant Commissioner R. Rajagopal and Superintendent Foo Wei Min regarding the alleged money trail involving funds going out of 1MDB into the Pekan MP account, there was no documentary evidence that the money flowed into his account due to his (Najib) instruction.

“Rajagopal has wrongly interpreted Article 117 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) wherein he averred that all business decisions made by 1MBD board of directors having financial implications must be referred to and approved by Datuk Seri Najib.

“He also does not exhibit any written approval where Datuk Seri Najib had exercised his power pursuant to the Article 117 of the M&A nor he does state that the former prime minister had invoked his power under Article 117(c) of the memorandum (to cause the money movement),” said Scivetti.

She said this during her submission in the government-linked forfeiture suit against Najib and 17 others before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

Scivetti further argued that the affidavits by the two investigating officers merely disclosed movement of monies deposited into and transferred out of Najib’s account and that the mere setting out of the movement of monies is not sufficient to prove the seized properties were from unlawful activity.

“Foo, in his affidavit avers that during investigations, he applied the First In, First Out (FIFO) method on Datuk Seri Najib’s Ambank account number ending with 9694 and found that apart from utilising it for personal use, Datuk Seri Najib had utilised and transferred the funds into his own Ambank account number ending with 1880, 32 political parties, 131 companies and 60 individuals.

“Again, there is no evidence of the alleged movements of monies from 1MDB into any purported accounts of Good Star Ltd, Aabar Investments PJS and Tanore Finance Corp to even warrant Supt Foo to do a FIFO analysis,” she said.

Citing Foo’s affidavit, Scivetti also contended that there is no nexus between the alleged 1MDB funds in Najib’s Ambank accounts and the seized luxury watches and jewellery.

“Foo said, based on his investigation, the foreign companies had transferred the funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB to the account of several foreign companies and these illegal monies were then utilised for the purchase of luxurious handbags and watches.

“But there was no evidence furnished by Foo to show the link between the watches and the funds allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB. Likewise, there were no receipts to link the seized watches and jewellery with the bank statement by Foo. Therefore, there is no evidence at all before this Honourable Court that the seized properties were proceeds of unlawful activity,” she said.

In closing her submission, Scivetti said due to the inefficiency of evidence, the forfeiture application ought to be dismissed.

The hearing before Justice Mohamed Zaini will resume on May 7.

On May 8, 2019, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) filed a notice of forfeiture over hundreds of items including branded handbags and 27 vehicles seized from Najib, Rosmah, their three children and 13 individuals and companies, said to be linked to 1MDB.

In addition, money amounting to more than RM18 million in several accounts at Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, Al-Rajhi Bank Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, AmBank Bhd and the Hong Leong Bank Bhd was frozen between Aug 16, 2018, and March 11, 2019.

It named Najib as the first respondent followed by Rosmah, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, Nor Ashman Razak Mohd Najib, Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib, Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd, Goh Gaik Ewe, Ng, Lim, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun as second to 18th respondents.

The application was filed on the grounds that the prosecution, acting under Section 56 (1) read together with Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code, was satisfied that the items seized between May 17, 2018, and March 11, 2019, were related to an offence under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 or as the result of illegal activities involving the respondents. — Bernama

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