PUTRAJAYA : The millions of ringgit Datuk Seri Najib Razak spent on luxuries with his credit cards showed he expected RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd to enter his account and was deliberately using this, the Court of Appeal heard today (April 21).
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said this during rebuttal to Najib’s appeal hearing against his conviction and jail sentence for misappropriating RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
Sithambaram said evidence adduced in the trial showed Najib spending the RM42 million as soon as it entered his personal bank accounts and that this conscious use of unlawful proceeds confirmed the commission of the money laundering offences for which he was charged.
“Repayment of credit card expenditures amounting to RM3,282,734.16 which was debited on August 13, 2014 through an instruction letter dated August 11, 2014.
“Out of the full sum deducted, RM449,586.95 was credited into the appellant’s Visa Platinum Card while RM2,833,147.21 was credited into the appellant’s MasterCard Platinum Card.
“This sum was for payment of expenditures by the appellant for retail purchases at De Grisigono, Italy and at Chanel Honolulu, United States of America,” he said during submission on Najib’s three money laundering charges on whether he had the requisite mental element to complete the commission of the offence.
Najib previously explained the purchase at a De Grisogono jewellery outlet Sardinia, Italy, for €763,500 (RM3,282,734) as a gift to the wife of Sheikh Ahmed Jassim Al Thani, identified in court as Her Excellency Noor Abdulaziz Abdulla Turki Al-Subaie.
Najib said the purchase on August 8, 2014 was made during a private holiday with his family members to Italy in August 2014, during which he met Sheikh Ahmed, the Qatari prime minister at that time.
The former prime minister testified that the gift was in reciprocation of the presents the Sheikh and his wife had given to Najib and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor during the Qatari couple’s visits to Malaysia.
Separately, the US$130,625 (RM466,330) purchase he made at a Chanel store in Honolulu in the US state of Hawaii in December 2014 was a birthday present for his wife, Rosmah.
Apart from the luxury goods purchases, Najib also issued numerous cheques that were cleared for various purposes including personal use and political donations.
“It is clear that the appellant had utilised the funds received from SRC in full based on the evidence adduced in the money trail and elaborated earlier in the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges.
“There is no need for any inference to be drawn as the evidence is unequivocal in showing the utilisation by the appellant,” he said.
Sithambaram said the circumstances surrounding the funds deposited into Najib’s accounts would raise the suspicion of any reasonable person and move him to at least attempt to verify that they were not proceeds of an unlawful activity.
Yet Najib failed to take any positive steps to authenticate the unusually large sums entering his accounts and such failure constituted an act of plain wilful blindness, Sithambaram added.
Najib’s defence witness’ testimony enhanced prosecution’s case on AMLA charges
Sithambaram also submitted further that Najib’s 17th defence witness (DW17), former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, had bolstered the prosecution’s case when the latter stated that utilisation of the proceeds is the key element to prove whether Najib had committed an Anti Money-Laundering Act offence.
“The opinion of DW17 (though not binding on this honourable court) states that monies entering accounts will not be sufficient to show knowledge but the spending of the monies will show the offence being committed.
“This directly relates to the narrative of the prosecution case which showed the appellant not only having knowledge of the RM42 million deposit (and being wilfully blind to it entering his accounts) but the further fact that the appellant had spent the entire RM42 million he received.
“The reasoning from DW17 that the spending of funds will show knowledge and usage is compelling.
“The fact that the funds were spent in full by the appellant shows his knowledge of the funds and his deliberate actions in utilising it,” he said.
In the RM42 million SRC International case, Najib was sentenced by the High Court 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 which he is now appealing against.
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