PUTRAJAYA: The RM4bil loaned by the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd and moved out of the company was a theft committed by other individuals, the Court of Appeal here was told.
Therefore, it was not a misappropriation of funds by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the former prime minister's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told a three-man bench on Thursday (April 8).
One judge had asked who made the decision to move the monies out of SRC International, a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The panel was chaired by Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil. The other judges were Justices Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Previously, during the trial, a bank manager testified that RM4bil was credited into SRC's current account between August 2011 and March 2012.
RM2bil was credited into the account on Aug 29,2011 in four tranches of RM500mil each, while another RM2bil was credited on March 28,2012.
The monies were on loan from KWAP to SRC International for the purpose of investments, where SRC should have gained profits.
Justice Vazeer was questioning the lawyer if the decision to move the monies out was made by someone other than the former premier, to which Harvinderjit said the board of directors had no knowledge that the monies were transferred out.
Justice Vazeer: You’ve not answered my question. The RM4bil was evidently sent out for, ostensibly, some investment. If the board of directors didn’t know about it, then who made the decision?
Harvinderjit: We don’t know. We must ask who even approved those payments.
Justice Vazeer: That is what I’m asking. Was that decision made at a different level?
Harvinderjit replied that there was no evidence to say the decision to move the money was made at a different level.
“It was a theft. It couldn't be anyone who was entrusted with the property because the (board of) directors didn't know about it.
“Without the directors approving the RM4bil to go out... it was not a misappropriation. It was a theft, ” the lawyer added.
The judge then asked why a police report was not lodged over the “stolen” funds, and Harvinderjit said the only person who could answer that was former SRC International director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, who testified during the trial at the High Court.
The lawyer also submitted that Najib should not be held liable for the alleged actions of his mandate holder, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who is also a former SRC CEO.
As the mandate holder, Nik Faisal was responsible for the management of Najib’s bank accounts.
He is wanted due to his involvement in the 1MDB scandal and Interpol had issued a red notice for him in 2018.
(A red notice is issued by the international police in their effort to find and arrest wanted individuals for the purpose of extradition.)
“If there is any evidence that Nik Faisal had stolen the money from my own bank account, I shouldn’t be held responsible.
“We should deal directly with who misappropriated (the money), ” Harvinderjit said.
The lawyer then drew an analogy of his car being driven by another person.
“If my driver drove my car and killed somebody, I’m not the one liable, but my driver is, ” he added.
On July 28, the Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of CBT as well as each of the three counts of money laundering.
Najib, 68, is currently out on bail of RM2mil in two sureties pending appeal.
The appeal hearing continues on Monday (April 12).