Najib’s defence ‘scored own goal’ with BBM chats - DPP

20 Apr 2021 / 17:47 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal was today told that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s (pix) defence scored their “own goal” when they tendered evidence that effectively contradicted his claim of not knowing his personal bank account’s status in relation to the RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd’s fund.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram highlighted how the numerous BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats between the 54th prosecution witness, AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, had instead indicated actual knowledge on Najib’s part regarding the status and transactions involving his personal accounts.

“The defence alleged the prosecution shifted the goal post. But here, they scored their own goal.

“BBM chats created and raised a strong inference that Najib must have had actual knowledge on the status, the countless transactions in and out if his accounts and the actual balance for him to take action in utilising the funds, including the monies of SRC that entered his bank accounts,“ he added.

He submitted this before a three-member bench led by Judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil in the hearing of Najib’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The other two judges on the bench were Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

Sithambaram said relevant chat transcripts that fortified Najib’s actual knowledge of the funds within his accounts, included occasions where Jho Low would forward BBM text messages he received from Najib to Joanna and copying BBM text messages that Jho Low had sent to Najib on the account balances after enquiring with Joanna on the exact balance.

Najib’s defence has throughout the trial contended that the former prime minister did not know of the fund’s source and subsequent utilisation of it did not prove the element of dishonest misappropriation under Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT), he added.

The Penang-based criminal lawyer then cited Najib’s cross-examination transcript and BBM chats, which he said, confirmed that Najib indeed had communications with Jho Low directly through messages on his accounts’ status.

“The BBM chats where reference is made by Jho Low to the appellant were readily admitted by the appellant as being his messages sent to Jho Low. The appellant admitted that he could gauge how much he could spend by communicating on a few occasions with Jho Low.

“The appellant further states that he communicated with his private secretary, Datuk Azlin Alias, who informed him as to how much the appellant could spend.

“In short, there is an admission by the appellant that he knew his bank balance from Jho Low and Azlin,“ he said, adding that Najib’s defence that he never knew the balance in his account thus failed.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of position, involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The hearing of the appeal continues. — Bernama

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