KUALA LUMPUR: An investigating officer in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's case involving the misappropriation of RM2.3bil of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds, told the High Court on Tuesday (Nov 14) that the former premier had wanted to answer the questions regarding some transactions in his personal bank accounts in court.
Assistant Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Criminal Investigation Division ACP Foo Wei Min said that during interrogation in October 2018, Najib said he decided to answer the questions involving five cheques for five payouts from his account because he was already charged with money laundering on Sept 20, 2018.
The five cheques were for transactions happening in Najib's account in 2013, namely a cheque of RM20mil for Umno on Aug 2; RM100,000 for Batu Kawan Umno on Aug 7; RM246,000 for property tycoon Lim Soon Peng on Aug 7; RM2mil for Orb Solutions Sdn Bhd on Aug 12; and RM303,000 for Semarak Konsortium Satu Sdn Bhd on Aug 14.
Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was reading out excerpts from Najib’s statement to Foo, where the Pekan MP said: "I am ready to answer (the questions) if I have not been charged, but since I was already charged, I believe it contravenes the legal system. So, I will answer in court."
When questioned by Muhammad Shafee, Foo said he interrogated Najib on Oct 3, 2018, which was around two weeks after Najib was hauled to court for 1MDB charges.
Further questioned by the lawyer, the 48th prosecution witness denied that there was a higher power who instructed him to ask Najib about the transactions after the politician had been charged.
Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that you were directed by somebody above you...he doesn't have to be from the police force. This is purely and purportedly only to satisfy the requirement of the law.
Foo: This is part of the investigation for the Tanore phase so, I have the duty and responsibility to ask these questions, as an investigating officer.
Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that you feel compelled to ask because you realised not questioning him on the matter of the charge went beyond a principle of fair trial.
Meanwhile, during the afternoon proceeding, Muhammad Shafee contended Najib had no knowledge about Tanore Finance Corporation belonging to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low's associate Eric Tan Kim Loong.
Foo agreed to the lawyer’s suggestion that Najib himself had told him during the investigation that he didn't know who owned the Tanore account and he just said it might be linked to Saudi royals.
Muhammad Shafee: My question is, to be an AMLA offender, you have to break Datuk Seri Najib's claim as to the lack of knowledge. You have to discredit his claim that he thought that Tanore was linked to Saudi Arabia.
Foo: We found out that the account was owned by Tan and not the Saudis. I came to know this when I got the unofficial document.
Foo also agreed to Muhammad Shafee’s suggestion that he only knew the fact that Tanore was owned by Tan and not the Saudis through cooperation with Singapore authorities.
Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3bil belonging to 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. - Bernama