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Day 4: Najib stopped by 'student' as court adjourns

Malaysiakini Team  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LIVEThe fourth day of former premier Najib Abdul Razak's criminal trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd takes place at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.


KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Proceedings end for the day
  • Witness told to bring evidence of banker's conversation with Jho Low
  • 'Student' stops Najib, demands to be allowed into courtroom
  • DPP condemns Najib's 'fishing expedition' to seek Ambank files
  • AG protests against defence's line of questioning
  • Three Bank Negara teams raided Ambank, testifies IO
  • Supporters head to Najib's house for special prayers
  • 'Seized Ambank files handed over to MACC'
  • Bank Negara IO confirms giving order to raid Ambank 
  • Witness: I categorised suspected offence based on Ambank files
  • 'DPP putting words in the witness' mouth'
  • Najib enters dock
  • Prosecution and defence teams arrive

Summary of Najib’s SRC RM42 million case

Najib is facing 7 charges relating to RM42m involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

  • 1 abuse of power charge
  • 3 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges
  • 3 money laundering charges


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6.00pm - Thank you for following our live report today.

Reporting by Hidir Reduan and Anne Muhammad. Social media updates by Ewe Ling Yenn. Photographs by Lim Huey Teng.

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Witness told to bring evidence of banker's conversation with Jho Low

5.15pm - Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom Najib’s lead defence counsel Shafee says they needed the evidence seized from Ambank’s relationship manager Yu to prove that the former premier has no knowledge of the purported wrongdoing that he was charged with.

He is commenting on judge Nazlan’s decision to allow the defence's application for fourth prosecution witness, Bank Negara’s then investigation officer with its Financial Intelligence And Enforcement Department, to produce the documents and other items he seized from Yu in a raid at the bank at Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, on July 6, 2015.


Read more: Court wants evidence of conversation between banker, Jho Low


"It is especially true in this case as he (Najib) does not deal with accounts (at Ambank) directly.

"That is why you see name of Nik Faisal (Ariff Kamil), his secretary who had died, and Jho Low,

and what directions they gave the bank (Ambank). That is relevant (to Najib's defence).

"I know of the (alleged) Blackberry communication as it is (reported by) Sarawak Report, (the book) ‘Billion Dollar Whale’, and all the articles by the Wall Street Journal.

"Those conversations between Joanna Yu and Jho Low is critical as it suggests that Jho Low is trying to tell Joanna about these monetary transactions, make sure prime minister (Najib) does not know," claims Shafee.

5.00pm - Judge Nazlan allows an application by Najib’s defence team to compel Farhan to produce evidence detailing the conversation between Ambank banker Joanna Yu Ging Ping and fugitive Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.

In earlier testimony, Farhan testified having gone to Ambank’s Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015 when the bank was being raided by three separate Bank Negara teams. He said that he had met Yu there, where she had handed over the evidence.

Nazlan rules that the application for the seized documentary evidence held by Farhan is relevant to Najib's defence.

Harvinderjit tells the court that the defence needs the emails and Blackberry phone that Farhan seized from Ambank's relationship manager Yu, which may contain conversations between her and Low as well as several individuals linked to the case.

Aside from Low, other names that the lawyer lists out are Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, Jerome Lee Tak Loong, Terrence Geh Choh Heng, Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim, Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Ismee Ismail, and See Yoke Peng.

Nazlan remarks that this assumes the witness has the evidence related to the names that can be produced in court, to which Harvinderjit agrees.

Shafee then adds that what the defence seeks also includes official recordings that the bank may have on alleged Blackberry communications with other people in a manner that is not sanctioned by Bank Negara.

However, Nazlan allows the witness time to look through what seized evidence he may in his safekeeping.

The judge then allows the proceedings to resume at 9am tomorrow with a different prosecution witness if Farhan has yet to gather the evidence to be produced in court for Najib’s defence team to scrutinise by then.


'Student' stops Najib, demands to be allowed into courtroom

5.10pm - There is a brief moment of tension when a man claiming to be a law student rushes towards Najib as he leaves the court complex.

He is seen heading straight towards the former premier and demanding to know why he is not allowed to attend the hearing.

However, a police personnel stopped the student from approaching Najib and orders him to step aside, while trying to pull him away by his sleeves.

Undeterred, the student holds Najib by his hand and continues to pelt him with questions.

Najib then shouts at the cop to let go of the student, saying: "Let him, he just wants to ask a question."

The policeman backs off and Najib then apologizes to the cop.

Student: Why ordinary people have to deal with so many procedures to get into court?

Najib: I don’t know. You’d have to ask the court, it’s not within my powers.

Najib then gets into his car and leaves, while the student meets reporters to express his dissatisfaction towards Najib’s response.

He says he wants to know how the trial against Najib is conducted.

“If ordinary people cannot enter, how to see justice in Malaysia,” he says.

However, he refuses to reveal his name to reporters.


DPP condemns Najib's 'fishing expedition' to seek Ambank files

4.05pm - DPP V Sithambaram (below, left) objects to the defence’s bid for the fourth prosecution witness to produce documents he seized from a raid on Ambank on July 6, 2015, calling it a "fishing expedition".

He says the attempt by Najib's defence counsel Harvinderjit to compel former Bank Negara investigation officer Farhan to bring out the documents goes against Section 51 of the Evidence Act 1950.

"They must satisfy admissibility and necessity.

"What they are doing is a fishing expedition. We need proper procedure (via official application),” Sithambaram says.

"If they keep asking for documents to check whether they are relevant or admissible, this is set to be a long trial,” he adds.

Harvinderjit accuses the prosecution of trying to block Najib's application.

Najib's lead defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah then chimes in, saying it is up to the courts to decide whether to allow the bid or not.

Shafee says the matter is relevant, as Farhan seized bank documents from Ambank, which has a bearing on Najib's defence.

"There must be leeway for us to explore. We are not seeking the witness' communication with MACC, just those (documents seized) in his possession which were not in my client's defence,” he states.


AG protests against defence's line of questioning

3.30pm - Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (below) objects to the line of questioning taken by Najib's defence counsel Harvinderjit towards Farhan.

He tells judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that Harvinderjit's cross-examination of the Bank Negara investigation officer verged on affecting the testimony’s admissibility and relevance.

"Furthermore, at the end of the day, it is also for the protection of the accused," he says, adding that this may affect the other trials faced by Najib later.

Harvinderjit counters that Farhan needs to answer the questions as it involved the operation of accounts of Gandingan Mentari and the accused, among others.

"Anyway, thank you AG for taking our (client's) protection into account," Harvinderjit says before resuming the cross-examination.


Three Bank Negara teams raided Ambank, testifies IO

2.45pm - The cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness Farhan by Najib's counsel Harvinderjit has commenced. 

The former Bank Negara Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department investigation officer testifies there were three Bank Negara teams that raided Ambank’s Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015.

He says that the teams were headed by investigation officer Azizul and two others, who went to the bank that day.

The two teams not headed by Azizul were there to assist a special task force formed that year, he adds.

2.19pm - Najib returns to the courts complex, and heads straight to the courtroom on the fifth floor. 


Supporters head to Najib's house for special prayers 

12.50pm - Proceedings have stopped for lunch break. Najib leaves the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex.

It is understood that 40 Najib supporters from Pekan, who had gathered earlier at the court this morning, will now go to his house to perform solat hajat (special prayers).

Najib will also purportedly meet them before proceedings resume at 2.30pm.

His counsel will cross-examine Farhan this afternoon. 

Earlier during the examination-in-chief, Farhan had confirmed receiving the bank documents seized from Ambank by the raiding officer Azizul, among others.


'Seized Ambank files handed over to MACC'

12.30pm - Farhan testifies that he had handed over seized Ambank documents on Najib, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari to the MACC on May 30, 2018.

The bank documents in question show transactions ranging between RM5 million and RM40 million having taken place between Dec 2014 and Feb 2015.

Farhan, a former investigation officer with Bank Negara's Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department, was telling the court what he had done with the documents seized from Ambank’s Raja Chulan branch on May 6, 2015.

DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim: Did you hand over the documents to any other party (after having received them from Azizul)?

Farhan: On May 30, 2018, I received a request from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for the documents under our custody.

Suhaimi: What did you hand over to them?

Farhan: The items in the seizure list.

Suhaimi: To whom did you give (the items)?

Farhan: To (MACC officer) Wong Chien Hoong.


Bank Negara IO confirms giving order to raid Ambank 

12.10pm - Farhan confirms having ordered Bank Negara officer Azizul to raid Ambank's Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015.

Farhan, 32, who used to hold the position of investigation officer with Bank Negara's Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department at that time, says he gave the directive to Azizul on suspicion of offences under Part 4 of Amlatfa.

He is replying to DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim during an examination-in-chief.

Previously, Azizul, who was also an investigation officer with the same department of Bank Negara that time, testified that he received an order from Farhan to raid the commercial bank and in the process seize bank documents linked to bank accounts of Najib, SRC International and its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari.

11.59am - Prosecution calls the fourth witness, Bank Negara IO Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin.


Cross-examination continues

11.08am - The former premier steps back into the dock as his counsel resumes cross-examining Nizam. 

10.59am Najib takes a seat in the public gallery as proceedings halt for a five-minute break.

Earlier, Najib's counsel Harvinderjit Singh cross-examined the prosecution's third witness, Mohammad Nizam Yahya (photo), an analyst from Bank Negara's Financial Intelligence Department.

 

Nizam was cross-examined over bank documents which he seized from Affin Bank's Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015.

The documents were related to Ihsan Perdana's three current accounts with the bank.


Witness: I categorised suspected offence based on Ambank files 

10.20amSecond prosecution witness Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar (below) testifies that he stated in a police report a suspected offence had been committed under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfa).

This, he says, was based on the transactions listed in documents seized in relation to bank accounts belonging to Najib, SRC International and Gandingan Mentari in a July 6, 2015 raid on Ambank's Raja Chulan branch.

Azizul, who is a Bank Negara investigation officer, had lodged the police report a day after the raid was conducted. 

During re-examination by DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim, Azizul says the nature of the suspected offence, as seen from the seized bank documents, made him categorise the suspected offence under Section 4(1).

The 41-year-old had previously testified that the early order given to him prior to the raid on Ambank's Raja Chulan branch was to collect documents on suspected offences committed under Part 4 of Amlatfa.

Azizul's response today was prompted by earlier cross-examination by Najib's counsel Harvinderjit Singh on the alleged discrepancy between the categorisation of the suspected offence under Part 4 in the early directive, and the Section 4 (1) offence stated in the police report lodged a day after the raid.


'DPP putting words in the witness' mouth'

10.15am - Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit accuses the prosecution of putting words in its second prosecution witness' mouth.

He tells the judge that DPP Suhaimi's line of re-examination is undermining his own cross-examination of the witness.

"He (Suhaimi) is putting words in the witness' mouth," Harvinderjit said in regard to Suhaimi's re-examination of Azizul.

Suhaimi was asking Azizul, a Bank Negara official appointed as raiding officer, on the sequence of events when he raided the bank on July 6, 2015, and when he lodged the police report the following day.

When Suhaimi tries to rephrase the question, Harvinderjit seeks direction from the court over the matter.

Thomas stands up and objects.

"He (Suhaimi) has his own way of handling (questioning). Just because my learned friend (Harvinderjit) is doing his way and not met my learned friend's way," the attorney-general retorts in defence of Suhaimi.

The judge then steps in and asks Suhaimi to reword the question. 


Najib enters the dock

9.45am - Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin. 

He is seen sitting in the dock, putting away the book he was reading. 

Prosecution and defence teams arrive

9.32amNajib enters the courtroom and takes a seat in the public gallery. He begins reading a book and appears to look relaxed while waiting for proceedings to commence.

Also coming into the courtroom is the accused's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and the rest of the defence team, who take their seats at the front.

Earlier in a separate Kuala Lumpur High Court courtroom before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, Najib had attended a case mention for three charges of money laundering involving RM27 million of former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd's funds.

9.25amAttorney-General Tommy Thomas enters Kuala Lumpur High Court Criminal 3 courtroom and takes a seat with other members of the prosecution team.

9.05am - Najib arrives at the courts complex in a Proton Perdana car with the registration plate TN 50.

As soon as he emerges from the vehicle, his supporters - a majority of whom are women - begin praying for him.

Najib, who is clad in a beige suit, joins in their prayers before leaving the lobby and heading towards the upper floor.

8.45am - Forty of former premier Najib Abdul Razak's supporters from his constituency of Pekan, Pahang arrive in the compound of the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex. They say they departed from Pahang at 5am today.


The fourth day of the criminal trial of former premier Najib Abdul Razak involving RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds is set to start at the Kuala Lumpur High Court at 9am today.

Najib is facing a trial into three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of abuse of his position as then-prime minister in relation to funds amounting to RM42 million linked to SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

The 65-year-old politician, who was also finance minister and adviser emeritus of SRC International, is also facing three money laundering charges over the funds.

The three CBT charges are laid under Section 409 of the Penal Code, the abuse of position charge is under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, and the three money laundering counts are per Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amlatfa) 2001.

If convicted, the Pekan MP can be sentenced up to 20 years in jail, whipping and fine for the CBT charges; a maximum 20 years' in jail and a fine not less than five times the amount of bribe involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher, for the abuse of position charge; and jail time not exceeding 15 years, and a fine up to RM15 million or five times the amount involved, whichever is higher, for the money laundering charges.

His case will be presided by judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, with the trial to kick-off this morning with Najib’s defence team to cross-examine the third prosecution witness, Bank Negara’s Financial Intelligence Department’s analyst Mohammad Nizam Yahya.

During the third day of the trial yesterday, Nizam, 39, testified that he seized documents related to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd’s three current accounts at Affin Bank Berhad at Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, on July 6, 2015.

Ihsan Perdana was the corporate social responsibility arm of SRC.

He said the seized documents comprised account opening forms, specimen signature forms, a list of authorised signatories, customer due diligence forms for the three accounts, as well as statements related to the opening of said accounts.

Yesterday, the second prosecution witness, Bank Negara investigation officer Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar also told the court that between RM5 million and RM40 million were transacted in accounts belonging to Najib, SRC International, and its unit Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd between Dec 24, 2014, and Feb 13, 2015.

Azizul, 41, said this was seen in documents on accounts of Najib and the two companies, which he confiscated from an Ambank branch at Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015.

The raids on both commercial banks came four days after the international business daily Wall Street Journal reported that investigators believed at least US$700 million had flowed into Najib's bank account.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas is expected to lead the 13-person prosecution team, comprised of DPPs Sulaiman Abdullah, V Sithambaram, Manoj Kurup, Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Donald Joseph Franklin, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, Sulaiman Kho Kheng Fuei, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed, Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril, Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, and Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril.

Najib will be represented by a 13-person defence team led by veteran criminal lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Other members of the defence team are former solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, Harvinderjit Singh, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Chong Loong Men, Devanandan S Subramaniam, Farhan Read, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, Rahmat Hazlan, Muhammad Farhan Shafee, Tiara Katrina Fuad, Nur Syahirah Hanapiah, and Zahria Eleena Redza.

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