Najib guilty

Bede Hong

Former prime minister Najib Razak received RM42 million from SRC International, which was deposited into his bank accounts. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, July 28, 2020.

NAJIB Razak was found guilty today of all seven criminal charges for having received RM42 million in funds from SRC International, making him the first former prime minister to be charged and convicted in Malaysia.

Najib, who was also the former finance minister, was convicted on three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money-laundering and one count of abuse of power.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali delivered the verdict after taking more than two hours to read the judgment.

The SRC International case is the first of five trials the 67-year-old Pekan MP is facing after the 14th general election in 2018. 

On the defence’s argument that the prosecution could not establish a link between the RM42 million received into Najib’s account and the RM4 billion from Malaysia’s largest public services pension fund’s (KWAP) loans to SRC International, Nazlan said it was not required of the prosecution to do so in the case to prove the latter’s guilt.

“The second loan of RM2 billion from KWAP to SRC International was approved despite the former prime minister not exactly knowing what had happened to the first loan of RM2 billion.

“I find it hard to fathom when the sum involved was extremely large by any measure,” he said, adding that the defence failed to refute beyond reasonable doubt Najib’s abuse of power charge.

On the corruption and money-laundering charges, Nazlan said the defence’s argument that Najib received money from the late Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud cannot be sustained because there is no evidence the Pekan MP attempted to verify the donation or the purpose of it with the king or the government of Saudi Arabia.

“The accused could have picked up his phone to verify the donation,” said the judge, adding that Najib did not communicate with either Foreign Ministry officials or Riyadh.

The money was used for activities that could only be interpreted as political activities on behalf of the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Najib also used alleged donation for “blatantly personal expenses”, such as trips to Italy and Hawaii, he said, adding that the claims of Arab donation remain unproven.

“In my judgment, the accused could not have believed the money was from Arab donation,” says Nazlan.

A supporter of Najib Razak behind the gates at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today shortly after the former prime minister was found guilty of corruption. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, July 28, 2020.

“This defence is unsustainable because it is fully contrived. It is difficult not to the characterise the defence of the Arab donation to be self-serving.”

The judge said it does not pass the threshold of “logic and common sense”.

On Najib’s three money-laundering charges, Nazlan said the accused exhibited “wilful blindness” from his testimony, regarding the remittance of the RM42 million into his bank accounts.

“I find the prosecution has successfully proved its case beyond reasonable doubt for (abuse of power charge), the three CBT charges and the three money-laundering charges.”

In the judgment, Nazlan dismissed as “far-fetched” claims by the defence that Penang-born fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low had duped Najib.

Najib, in a cream suit, appeared calm when the verdict was delivered. Later, he appeared slumped in the dock, leaning against the rails.  

Seated behind him were Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and deputy president Mohamad Hasan. Najib’s daughter, Nooryana Najwa, was accompanied by her stepbrother Riza Aziz.

For being found guilty for abuse of power (Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, Najib faces up to 20 years’ jail.

For the other three counts of CBT and three counts of money-laundering, Najib faces up to 15 years’ jail and a fine upwards of RM5 million.

Sentencing is normally ordered to be carried out concurrently, instead of consecutively.

Nazlan has yet to sentence Najib this morning, with the defence led by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah requesting for mitigation to be heard on Monday.

The judge said he is “not yet convinced” that the he should allow mitigation to be heard days after sentencing and adjourn the court.

He will decide after hearing the defence’s submission this afternoon on whether to allow the application. – July 28, 2020.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.