Court orders Najib to enter defence over RM42mil SRC case (updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been ordered by the High Court to enter his defence for seven charges in the SRC International trial involving the misappropriation of RM42mil in SRC funds.

High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made the order after ruling that the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against the Pekan MP.

"The prosecution has successfully adduced credible evidence proving each and every essential ingredient of the offences of abuse of position for gratification, criminal breach of trust and money laundering as framed in the charges," said the judge who took almost an hour to read his decision here on Monday.

In his decision, Justice Nazlan pointed out to Najib's participation in Cabinet meetings in 2011 and 2012.

"The interest of the accused in SRC must be seen in the correct context – which is from the time SRC was established, to the approval of the loan applications by SRC from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) – which were guaranteed by the Government, until the RM42mil which was the property of SRC, were deposited into the accused's bank accounts.

"In my view, the intention to obtain gratification in this case could be easily inferred from the circumstances, given the failure of the accused to avoid conflict of interest position at Cabinet meetings," he said.

The judge opined that Najib's failure to avoid a conflict of interest during Cabinet meetings supplied the criminal intention against him – particularly when it was shown that he had interests in SRC, a company that he also controlled.

"SRC, the entity, was the subject matter of the decision to grant Government guarantees at these Cabinet meetings.

"Given the accused's control over SRC, the accused could cause the transfers of the company funds, in respect of the three transactions totalling RM42mil through intermediary companies, credited into his personal accounts and expended to his own advantage.

"This is gratification to the accused, pure and simple," he added.

Najib, 66, appeared calm when the decision was read in court on Monday (Nov 11).

He has chosen to give sworn evidence in his defence trial.

This would mean that Najib is subjected to cross-examination by the prosecution.

The prosecution trial lasted 58 days with 57 witnesses called to the stand.

During the trial, the prosecution tendered more than 750 exhibits, including bank documents relating to Najib's bank accounts, cash transactions, minutes of meetings and Blackberry Messenger chats over Najib's transactions.

The defence trial is expected to commence starting Dec 3.

Najib was accused of using his positions as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to receive a RM42mil gratification when he took part in the Government's decision in providing a guarantee for a loan of RM4bil from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a unit of 1MDB.

He allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012.

He was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2009 which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Najib was also slapped with three counts of CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

According to the charge sheets, as the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Advisor Emeritus of SRC International, Najib was entrusted with SRC's monies amounting to RM4bil, and he allegedly misappropriated RM27mil and RM5mil in two transactions between Dec 24 and Dec 29, 2014.

In the third CBT charge, he was accused of misappropriating RM10mil between Feb 10 and March 2, 2015 from the same RM4bil entrusted to him.

All of the CBT offences were allegedly committed at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Bangunan Ambank Group, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan here.

The charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code are punishable by up to 20 years prison, whipping and a fine, if convicted.

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