NEWS

Day 6: Defence links money from Najib to good causes

Malaysiakini Team

Published
Modified 15 Aug 2019, 4:16 am

LIVE | The sixth day of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's criminal trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd takes place at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.


KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Proceedings to resume at noon tomorrow
  • Najib gave PMO employee's widow RM52k to support children's education
  • Bank Negara IO unable to confirm existence of Ambank transcripts
  • Prolonged recess as Shafee deals with other legal matters
  • Shelter home: RM400k from Najib used for maintenance, wages
  • Witness: 'Apa malu, bossku'
  • RM50k cheque not reflected in Umno division's account
  • Najib gave Umno division chief RM50k to 'execute party plans'
  • 'Pressing need' to build water towers, says contractor
  • Two water towers built in Pekan for RM67k
  • Judge declines to rule on CRT
  • Disseminating CRT would prevent biased reporting - Shafee
  • 'Why is uploading CRT wrong when the media reports on trial?'
  • Prosecution asks for court order on trial videos
  • Najib arrives at the KL High Court


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6pm - Thank you for following our live report today.

Reporting by Hidir Reduan, Hariz Mohd, and Yasmin Ramlan. Social media updates by Ewe Linq Yenn. 

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Proceedings to resume at noon tomorrow

5.10pm - Justice Mohd Nazlan allows the defence's application for proceedings to resume at 12pm tomorrow.

Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit (below) explains lead defence counsel Shafee has to attend a hearing at the Court of Appeal tomorrow, and that its submissions may take at least two hours.

"We predict arguments that may last two hours in the Court of Appeal.

"We do not want to say we would be here (at the Kuala Lumpur High Court) at 11am and then we are not here," Harvinderjit says.

DPP Sithambaram raises no objection to the application.

The court then adjourns for today.

It is understood that tomorrow's Court of Appeal hearing is in relation to the defence's bid to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram from leading the prosecution team in Najib's 1MDB case.


PMO employee's widow received RM52k to support children's education

4.30pm - Manisah testifies that her family also received two other cheques from Najib in 2013, the year her husband died, and 2014.

Answering a question from defence counsel Shafee, she confirmed that she had received RM9,000 in funds from the then-premier in 2013.

She received another cheque for RM29,520 the next year.

According to Manisah, the cheques were passed to her by her late husband's colleague Khairul, and were used solely to pay the university fees of her two sons, now aged 27 and 23.

Both are yet to complete their studies, as the younger son is suffering from kidney disease, while his brother is also helping with treatment and intends to donate one of his kidneys.

Manisah testifies that Najib kept his promise to her late husband to take care of their children's academic fees.

In total, she received RM52,320 from the then-premier. 

However, she says, the cheques stopped coming in 2015. She believes it was because Najib did not know her children had yet to finish their studies, and she had no direct access to him.

PMO employee's widow received funds from Najib

4.15pm - The twelfth prosecution witness Manisah Othman confirms receiving a cheque from Najib for RM13,800 under her name, to support her children's education.

During examination-in-chief by DPP Saifuddin, she testifies that she received the cheque after Najib visited her husband, who was warded in Prince Court Medical Centre.

Manisah says her husband had previously worked in Boustead Holdings before being seconded to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

She adds that her husband died in 2013, a month after being hospitalised.

"Datuk Seri (Najib) promised to look after our children's education," she says, adding that the cheque was later given to her by a person named Khairul, who was a colleague of her late husband in the PMO.

Last week, Manisah had been named in Ambank employee Badrul Hisham Mohamad's testimony as a recipient of a cheque issued from an Ambank account linked to Najib's case.

The transaction in question involved an AmIslamic cheque for RM13,800 dated Feb 12, 2015.


Bank Negara IO unable to confirm existence of Ambank transcripts

3.40pm - Fourth prosecution witness Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin testifies that two smartphones, four USB flash drives and a one-terabyte hard disk drive were seized in the Bank Negara raid on Ambank's Jalan Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015.

Farhan had been the investigation officer who led the raid.

During cross-examination by Harvinderjit, he says that a BlackBerry phone was seized from Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu, and a Samsung Galaxy 4 was seized from banker Krystle Yap.

However, he could not confirm whether the items contained transcripts of Yu's and other bankers' conversation with other witnesses. 

This is because the items had been handed over to a Bank Negara forensic expert who conducted a forensic investigation into their contents.

Last week, judge Mohd Nazlan had ordered Farhan to come back to court and produce the items seized in the raid.

3.02pm  - Proceedings resume with Najib's defence counsel Harvinderjit commencing the cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness, who has been recalled. 


Prolonged recess as Shafee deals with other legal matters

2.54pm - The court is still in recess due to Najib's main legal counsel Shafee and others being occupied with separate legal matters in another court.

Twenty-four minutes ago, judge Mohd Nazlan allowed the application by Najib's defence counsel Muhammad Farhan Shafee (below) to delay resuming the trial, as proceedings in the other court were just about to start.

At the moment, Najib can be seen sitting in a relaxed manner in the public gallery while waiting for proceedings to begin.

Before this, Mohd Nazlan had come into the court twice, first at 2pm and later at 2.30pm.

Each time, the judge was informed that the matter in the other court was still ongoing and that Najib's main counsel remained occupied.


Shelter home: RM400k from Najib used for maintenance, wages 

12.25pm - Eleventh witness Abdul Munir Othman confirms receiving a RM400,000 cheque for the trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak on Feb 12, 2015.

Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak describes itself on its website as a shelter for impoverished children and orphans in Pekan, Pahang. The shelter, which carries the name of Najib's father, began operations in 2005.

Abdul Munir, who is one of the shelter’s four trustees, is responding to DPP Saifuddin during the examination-in-chief.

"I received the cheque from Datuk Seri (Najib) - if I am not mistaken, from the Prime Minister's Office or the Finance Ministry," he says.

The 53-year-old explains that the money was used for the shelter's maintenance and to pay its workers’ wages, among others.

He adds that Najib is the shelter’s patron.

Abdul Munir testifies that he was the one who suggested the RM400,000 amount.

He says that he would usually put in a request for contributions from Najib when the organisation exceeded its budget.

Ambank employee Badrul Hisham Mohamad had testified last week that there was a RM400,000 cheque transaction to the shelter from an Ambank account linked to Najib's SRC International case.

After DPP Saifuddin finishes his oral examination of the witness, defence counsel Harvinderjit makes a request to the court for the defence to continue with their cross-examination after lunch.

Judge Mohd Nazlan then adjourns the hearing.

The trial will continue at 2pm.


Witness: 'Apa malu, bossku'

11.57am - The prosecution calls its tenth witness, Johor Bahru Umno division secretary Abu Talib Alias.

DPP Saifuddin asks whether Najib is in court today and whether the witness can identify him.

Abu says, "Apa malu, bossku" in response.

This elicits laughter from those present in court, including a chuckle from Najib himself in the dock.


RM50k cheque not reflected in Umno division's account

11.30am - Asmadi testifies that the RM50,000 contribution Najib gave to the Padang Serai Umno division was not reflected in the division's official account.

This was because the cheque had been made payable to him, not the division.

He says all leaders in the division's management knew about the existence of the funds, and that it was meant for the use of Padang Serai Umno to conduct programmes.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Shafee, Asmadi testifies that the contribution was managed in a transparent manner.

However, he says, the funds were not reflected in the division's official account as it would have had to go through the annual general meeting and audit processes.

He also testifies that it was a normal practice for Umno divisions to receive contributions from the party headquarters, since the time when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was its president.

The witness was then relieved. 


Najib gave Umno division chief RM50k to 'execute party plans' 

11am - Hearing resumes after a short break with the prosecution calling in their ninth witness, Umno Padang Serai division chief Asmadi Abu Talib, who is also a former teacher.

Asmadi testifies that he first became the division chief in 2013, and had received a RM50,000 cheque from Najib when he met the then Umno president in 2014.

The 50-year-old said he met Najib at Umno’s office in Putra World Trade Centre.

Asmadi said he spoke with Najib about his experience of being a division chief for the first time, and discussed constraints in conducting party programmes for his division, including financial issues.

"Datuk Seri Najib then gave some advice to lift up my spirits, and then he handed over some contributions to assist my division to execute party plans," he told the court during examination by DPP Muhammad Saifuddin.

Asmadi said the cheque was made payable to him, and was later deposited into his Maybank account before being used to organise programmes for non-government organisations and associations.


'Pressing need' to build water towers, says contractor

10.40am - Daud testifies that the two water towers were constructed at Najib's Pekan residence due to “pressing need” (keperluan mendesak), and not for luxury.

During cross-examination by Shafee, the contractor says the water towers were necessary as the old water tank was no longer working properly.

"It had been repaired four times but was still broken," Daud says of the old water tank, adding that the new water towers, which have a 4,500-litre capacity in total, were needed to cater for 1,000 people and those using the house.

Daud says that among those who use the house are orphans during programmes.

Shafee: As a whole, the work you did, was it for pressing need or luxury?

Daud: It was a pressing need.

The witness is then released from the dock.


Two water towers built in Pekan for RM67k

10.10am - The prosecution calls in the eighth prosecution witness, Daud Muhammad, a 53-year-old contractor who operates a company named Syadila Enterprise.

Daud testifies to the court that he conducted three construction and repair projects amounting to RM77,300 at one of Najib's houses in 2014.

This included a contract to build two water towers at the house in Pekan, Pahang, which was called Seri Kenangan.

The height of the towers measured two storeys and three storeys respectively.

Daud says one of the towers was built near the house's kitchen, while the other was near Najib's bedroom.

The project cost RM67,000 and took three months to complete.

The witness adds that two other works he carried out for Najib were maintenance of his Pekan residence (air-conditioner servicing, electrical wiring and roof repairs), for which he charged RM9,540, and repairs of the house's door knobs and kitchen for RM760.

Daud testifies all invoices were in the name of Zainudin Abdul Aziz, who is the manager of Najib's house, and he received cheques for all payments.


Judge declines to rule on CRT

10am - Nazlan says that the court will not rule on whether the uploading of the CRT from Friday's proceedings constitutes contempt of court, as the matter is now the subject of a police investigation.

However, he reminds both the prosecution and the defence that as officers of the court, they must abide by their undertaking when handling the CRT.

The judge tells them that the CRT recording is only meant to assist both sides in the transcription of proceedings, and not for use in an unauthorised manner, such as being uploaded onto social media.

"Any transgression may result in the court no longer providing the CRT (to both parties).

"At the same time, everyone is reminded not to make prejudicial comments on the ongoing trial, including analysis of evidence and witnesses, that may prejudge the issue for determination before the court, which may constitute contempt of court.

"It is important that the matter does not detract the court from hearing the trial," Nazlan rules.


Disseminating CRT would prevent biased reporting - Shafee

9.45am - Shafee (below) says the dissemination of recordings of court proceedings is normal practice in the United Kingdom, and that copies of these videos can be accessed in the national archives.

Sithambaram stands firm, however, and insists that spreading the CRT is wrong and affects the court's integrity.

Shafee replies by saying that the CRT should be made public to avoid biased reporting.


'Why is uploading CRT wrong when the media reports on trial?'

9.30am - Harvinderjit backs his co-counsel Shafee, asking why uploading of CRT recordings are wrong when the media gives the public minute-by-minute updates of the trial.

"What is the difference between media recording (reporting) this minute-by-minute, and the recording of the video (of Friday's proceedings)?

"The video is not the entire video (of the day's proceedings), but excerpts from the cross-examination of the two witnesses," he argues.


Prosecution asks for court order on trial videos

9.20am - Day six of the trial begins, with DPP Sithambaram raising the matter of the court recording transcript (CRT) videos that were uploaded onto social media last week.

The prosecution asks for court direction on the leak, with Sithambaram (below) pointing out that CRT footage can only be obtained by signing an undertaking not to forward the copy to other parties, nor upload it onto any medium.

"We seek an undertaking from the defence not to give the CRT to any third party. The public and social media users should also be warned not to upload without permission from the court.

"We pray for a court order barring third parties from uploading the CRT without permission," he tells the court.

However, defence counsel Shafee disagrees, arguing that it was the prosecution who objected to the defence's application for a gag order on proceedings.

"If they had not objected, this issue would have been taken care of from the beginning," he said.


Witnesses, judge arrive

9.20am - Najib enters the dock as Nazlan comes into court to begin proceedings.

9.05am - Fourth prosecution witness Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin is seen entering the courtroom and heads to the witness stand.

Last week, Nazlan had allowed the defence to impel the Bank Negara investigation officer to produce documents and items seized from a 2015 raid on the Jalan Raja Chulan Ambank branch.

Najib's lawyers want Farhan to produce evidence indicating communication between Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu and 1MDB-linked fugitive Low Taek Jho.


Najib arrives at the KL High Court

8.54am - Najib, clad in a dark grey suit, enters the courtroom. A book is once again seen placed beside him on a public gallery seat as he waits for today's proceedings to begin.

He had earlier arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex in his trademark Proton Perdana, bearing the 'TN50' licence plate.


Ex-PM in the dock

8am - The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, enters its sixth day at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Najib is being tried on three counts of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code, three counts of money laundering under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFAPUAA) 2001, and one count of abuse of power under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009.

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

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

The trial, being presided over by judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, is expected to kick off this morning with testimonies from witnesses who said that several entities – political and non-political alike – received between thousands to millions of ringgit from Ambank accounts linked to Najib.

Last Friday, fifth prosecution witness Badrul Hisham Mohamad, the former manager of Ambank's cheque clearance centre, testified that among the 17 AmIslamic cheques cleared in 2015 include RM1 million to Upko, RM1 million to Penang Umno’s communications unit, RM300,000 to Johor Bahru Umno, and RM50,000 to Padang Serai Umno chief Asmadi Abu Talib.

Badrul Hisham confirmed this after being presented with the cheques, which were among the documents and items seized in a Bank Negara raid on the Jalan Raja Chulan branch of Ambank on July 6, 2015.

The prosecution may also call up other witnesses linked to other entities tied to the cheque transaction trail – such as Vital Spire Sdn Bhd, Zulqarnain & Co, Centre for Strategic Engagement, Lim Soon Peng, trustees of Rumah Penyayang Tun Abdul Razak, Solar Shine Sdn Bhd, Manisah Othman, Syadilah Enterprise, and law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak.

Attention will be on whether the issue of alleged contempt of court by Najib’s former aide Hizatul Isham Abdul Jalil will be raised.

Hizatul had uploaded video clips of Friday's court proceedings, which showed two witnesses testifying in court.

The clips showed ABS Trend Master Sdn Bhd owner Zulkarnain (family name not listed by the prosecution) and MOZ Malaysia Sdn Bhd owner Mohammad Zakariyya Zearat Khan testifying on their involvement in constructing a new guard post and water tank respectively at Najib's Jalan Langgak Duta residence.

Zulkarnain and Zakariyya were the sixth and seventh prosecution witnesses respectively.

ABS Trend Master and MOZ Malaysia were also cited in Badrul Hisham’s testimony as recipients of AmIslamic cheques of RM100,000 and RM56,500 respectively.

In his post accompanying the uploaded video clips, Hizatul Isham alleged that there were "problems" with the prosecution's theory that Najib had used SRC International funds for his personal benefit.

He also claimed the prosecution could not prove that Najib ordered SRC International to deposit funds into his personal bank account through two intermediaries.

Hizatul Isham insisted that the renovations were a necessity, as Najib received many visitors at the Langgak Duta home.

Defending his posting of the videos, he said that court rules only prohibit the live streaming of the proceedings or personal recordings, and that the clips originated from the court's own court recording and transcript (CRT) system.

Police are probing the uploading of the clips for illegal disclosure of information under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. It is punishable upon conviction under Section 203A of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum one-year jail sentence, an RM1 million fine, or both.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas leads the 13-person prosecution team, comprised of deputy public prosecutors 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 Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, and Muhammad Izzat Fauzan.

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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