PUTRAJAYA, : The Court of Appeal heard today that the unreliable testimony of one of the trial’s key prosecution witness has thrown into doubt any links between the RM42 million transacted out of SRC International Sdn Bhd and instructions by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said this during submission in Najib’s appeal hearing against the former prime minister’s conviction and jail sentence for misappropriation of RM42 million SRC International funds.
He said the High Court judge presiding in Najib’s trial had erred in his prima facie findings by making inferences based on speculation and conjecture.
He argued that High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had clearly failed to conduct a maximum evaluation of the evidence submitted by the 42nd prosecution witness — former SRC International director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin (PW42) — who provided inconsistent testimonies throughout the trial.
“A maximum evaluation of the evidence adduced in the prosecution’s case would have resulted in the conclusion that PW42 was at best incredible and at worst a completely unreliable witness.
“The trial judge’s findings in making out a prima facie case was grossly in error as the Trial Court ignored the severe infirmities in the evidence of PW42,” he said.
He cited how Suboh had during the trial testified that the latter and former SRC International chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil were authorised signatories of cheques for SRC International and its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (GMSB).
Suboh during examination-in-chief affirmed his signatures (signed under orders from Nik Faisal) on several instruction letters sent to AmBank in 2014 and 2015 to disburse funds from SRC International to its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari as well as to SRC International’s purported corporate social responsibility partner Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB), of which RM42 million from IPSB then made its way into Najib’s personal accounts.
However, Shafee cited how Suboh had during cross-examination in July 2019 testified he did not sign any of the transfer instructions and that fund transfer signatures he signed related to the RM42 million could have been forged.
He also recounted Suboh’s recorded statement with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) back in 2015 where the latter had in fact admitted to signing said instruction letters during an interrogation.
Thus, Suboh’s evidence in court has been rendered unreliable, Shafee contended.
“If he (Nazlan) had exercised his judicial mind, he would have immediately discarded and seen that PW42 as unreliable,” he added.
Prima facie findings on cause of the RM42 million transactions erroneous
As the prima facie case was clearly made without a maximum evaluation being conducted on Suboh’s “contradictory” evidence, Shafee said the trial judge decided to make up a prima facie case based on unreliable testimony, conjecture and speculation.
“PW42’s testimony was clearly unsafe to be relied on.
“Quite apart, in finding that Nik Faisal had also authorised the transfers, the trial judge failed to consider the position put to PW42 in re-examination that even Nik Faisal’s signature was ‘forged’.
“None of these material matters were referred to in the prima facie ruling on November 11, 2019.
“Given the above, it is submitted that the trial judge erred in finding that a prima facie case was made out as there was in fact no credible evidence to establish how the RM42m funds were transacted out of SRC and GMSB,” he said.
Noting the prosecution’s failure to produce credible evidence on this matter, Shafee said the critical ingredient in relation to the cause of the RM42 million being transferred out of SRC International was therefore never established.
In the RM42 million SRC International case, Najib was sentenced to 10 years’ jail on each of the three counts of CBT and each of the three counts of money laundering, and 12 years’ jail and a RM210 million fine, in default five years’ jail, in the case of abuse of position on July 28 last year.
However, Najib will only serve 12 years in jail as the judge ordered all the jail sentences to run concurrently.
The appeal hearing before Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil who chaired a three-member panel alongside Datuk Has Zanah Mehat and Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera resumes tomorrow.
By : KENNETH TEE – MALAY MAIL