Arab donation claim ‘desperate’ defence for Najib, appeal court hears

22-Apr-2021 Intellasia | Malaysiakini | 7:03 AM Print This Post

Najib Abdul Razak’s claim of receiving a donation from Arab royalty is a “desperate” defence against the RM42 million SRC International corruption case, the Court of Appeal heard today.

This is because there are contradictions in the defence witnesses’ testimonies regarding the claim, deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram submitted before the three-person bench today.

The DPP pointed to the conflicting defence testimonies over when the late Saudi monarch King Abdullah had purportedly promised financial assistance to then prime minister Najib in January 2010.

During the Kuala Lumpur High Court trial of the RM42 million graft case, former Malaysian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Syed Omar al-Saggaf, former minister in the prime minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom and former foreign minister Anifah Aman had testified in Najib’s defence.

They were purportedly part of a Malaysian delegation headed by Najib to Saudi Arabia in January 2010.

Najib’s defence had relied on the claim that the late King Abdullah made the pledge of financial support during a personal meeting with Najib in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January 2010. 1MDB-linked fugitive Low Taek Jho was alleged to have helped arrange the meeting.

Sithambaram’s submission is in counter against Najib’s appeal to quash the latter’s conviction and sentencing over the RM42 million SRC case.

The DPP pointed out that Najib’s testimony over the Arab donation contradicted the one given by defence witness Jamil regarding the same issue.

Sithambaram contended that Najib testified Low telling the former premier in the middle of 2010 about King Abdullah agreeing to provide financial support, but Jamil testified that the late king made the promise during the January meeting the same year.

“This shows the desperation in (Najib’s) defence to find a credible defence, but it (Arab donation claim) just becomes more incredible,” the DPP submitted.

“The three witnesses’ evidence of this purported meeting (between King Abdullah and Najib) where the offer of financial support was purportedly made could not have taken place as the appellant (Najib) himself did not testify of the same. This is but an afterthought evidence to bolster the appellant’s defence,” Sithambaram argued before the Court of Appeal bench chaired by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.

The DPP pointed out that the trio’s testimonies conflicted with each other regarding when the alleged meeting between King Abdullah and Najib took place.

“The defence witnesses seem to be in disagreement as to when the purported financial donation meeting with the King (Abdullah) occurred.

“DW4 (4th defence witness Omar) and DW5 (5th defence witness Jamil) testified that it took place during an informal meeting on January 11, 2010, prior to the formal meeting from January 13 to 16, 2010.

“On the other hand, DW6 (6th defence witness Anifah) testified that it took place during the official meeting from January 13 to 16, 2010. In fact, DW6 denied that any informal meeting took place before the official meeting,” Sithambaram asserted.

Najib’s appeal hearing before the Court of Appeal continues today and is scheduled for further hearing tomorrow.

The other members of the bench were Court of Appeal judges Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Has Zanah Mehat.

On July 28 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur convicted Najib on one count of abuse of power, three counts of CBT and three counts of money laundering in relation to RM42 million of funds from SRC

Trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and a fine of RM210 million.

The lower court allowed the defence team’s application for a stay of the sentence pending the disposal of his appeal.

SRC, which was once a subsidiary of troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, later became fully owned by the minister of Finance Incorporated.

Besides being former prime minister, Najib also used to be finance minister, SRC’s adviser emeritus, and chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisers.


Category: Malaysia

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