PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not know that the money in his bank accounts came from SRC International Sdn Bhd, the Court of Appeal heard.
The former prime minister believed the money in his Ambank accounts was the remainder of donations from the Saudi royal family.
Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh said this when arguing for Najib who is appealing against his conviction and sentence.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210mil after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42mil from SRC International.
The appeal was before Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, who sat with Justices Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
Harvinderjit said fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was the one who transferred money from SRC into Najib’s accounts without Najib’s knowledge.
“Some RM164mil were transferred into his new accounts after an old account that was used to receive donations was closed in August 2013. Najib believed the money was a contribution from the Saudi king.
“The trial judge (Justice) Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali stated that Najib must have known of the RM42mil deposited into his accounts from SRC. With respect, this was an error of law.
“The trial judge in equating post-transfer ‘knowledge’ with ‘dishonesty’ fell into error. The mens rea element of ‘dishonesty’ for criminal breach of trust is based on ‘intention’ and not ‘knowledge’, ” he added in his submission.
Harvinderjit said the prosecution at the close of its case only showed that Jho Low was meddling in Najib’s accounts.
At this juncture, Justice Abdul Karim questioned: “Why Jho
Low who had not any authority, was concerned (about Najib’s accounts)?”
Harvinderjit replied that since 2011, money was coming from the Arab royalty as donations and Jho Low through a non-diplomatic channel in 2010 had arranged for a meeting with the king and Najib.
“The monarch had expressed his support that Najib remained in power so that Malaysia did not fall into the hands of extremist elements.
“The king had said he would support Najib though he (king) did not say it would come in the form of donations, ” he said, adding that several months later it was Jho Low who said the king would give donations.
Harvinderjit said Najib then opened current and savings accounts in AmBank as he was expecting up to US$200mil in donations from Saudi Arabia.
Previously, AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi testified that based on the bank records between 2011 and 2013, millions in US dollars were remitted into Najib’s accounts.
The hearing of the appeal continues. — Bernama