PETALING JAYA: A lawyer today reminded the people that the criminal charges handed down to Najib Razak are merely the beginning, adding that the prosecution must now prove its case beyond reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction.
SN Nair said the burden was on the prosecutors to produce credible witnesses who could withstand cross-examination by the former prime minister’s lawyers.
“They will also have to tender documents and prove the paper trail (money movement),” he said.
He added that it appeared from the charges that the prosecution had a strong case against Najib.
Earlier today, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and a fourth on abuse of power.
In the first CBT charge, Najib as prime minister, finance minister and adviser to SRC International, is accused of transferring RM27 million from the company into his private bank account at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur.
In the second charge, he is accused of transferring RM5 million from SRC International into his bank account during the same period.
In the third charge, he is accused of transferring another RM10 million from the company into his account.
A fourth charge on abuse of power accuses Najib of using his position to siphon off RM42 million, while giving government guarantees on SRC’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).
Nair said evidence must be given that Najib had committed the offences.
“If that can be proven, there is a very strong likelihood of a prima facie case being established where the accused will be asked to enter his defence.”
At this stage, he said, it was not possible to predict Najib’s defence as the prosecution’s evidence was not fully placed before the court.
“Leaving aside public sentiment, the law in our country presumes every person is innocent until proven otherwise,” he added.
Each of the charges against Najib carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The abuse of power charge carries a fine of not less than five times the value of gratification.