PUTRAJAYA: Fugitive CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was the "trusted lieutenant" of his former boss Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the misappropriation of RM42mil from SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, the Court of Appeal heard.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram told a three-man bench of the appellate court that Najib's attempt to disassociate himself from Nik Faisal's actions was not credible as his (Najib) directions were given to the SRC board of directors via Nik Faisal.
He said this clearly showed Nik Faisal was the conduit between Najib and the SRC board.
"Similarly, to suggest Nik Faisal went rogue in relation to the letter of instruction to AmBank (regarding Najib's personal accounts) is simply outrageous," he said here on Monday (April 19) when making the prosecution's rebuttal in the hearing of Najib's appeal against his conviction and sentence.
He said any claim by Najib that Nik Faisal did not have his mandate and was untrustworthy was without factual basis.
"It should be kept in mind that the appellant (Najib) continued his personal banking mandate to Nik Faisal for many years until the closure of his AmBank accounts, ” said Sithambaram.
He added that it defies credibility for Najib to suggest that Nik Faisal was acting without his knowledge in the bank accounts while retaining him as a trusted mandate holder for personal banking even after he was sacked as CEO of SRC for financial irregularities.
"Why would Nik Faisal be removed as the CEO but be kept as SRC's authorised bank signatory?" Sithambaram said.
He said the retention of Nik Faisal was to do Najib's bidding, which he faithfully carried out by causing the transfer of the RM42mil from SRC into Najib's personal bank account.
“This money was never diverted anywhere else and it was utilised by the appellant, ” he added.
Sithambaram also said that various company documents also showed Najib had “directed the mind of SRC” with Nik Faisal carrying out the Pekan MP's instructions.
The prosecution further submitted that Nik Faisal was the mandate holder of Najib's personal bank accounts at AmBank, and that only proves there was a trusting relationship between Najib and Nik Faisal.
"This showed that Nik Faisal was the trusted lieutenant of the appellant. The actions taken by Nik Faisal are clearly within the knowledge of the appellant and done with his express blessings, ” said Sithambaram.
"The benefactor of the ill-gotten funds is the appellant and the appellant alone and not anybody else including Nik Faisal and (former late principal private secretary) Datuk Azlin Alias," he added.
On July 28, the Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced Najib to 10 years’ jail on each of three counts of criminal breach of trust as well as each of three counts of money laundering.
Najib, 68, is currently out on bail of RM2mil in two sureties pending the outcome of the appeal.
The appeal hearing continues on Tuesday (April 20) before the panel chaired by Justice Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
The other judges on the panel are Justices Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.