Ex-SRC CEO could have forged my signature, says witness

Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Suboh Md Yassin.

KUALA LUMPUR: A prosecution witness in Najib Razak’s corruption and abuse of power trial did not rule out the possibility that former SRC International Sdn Bhd CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil could have forged his signature to transfer funds, the High Court heard today.

Former SRC director Suboh Md Yassin said this when Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, demonstrated in court today that the hard and scanned copies of Suboh’s signatures were almost identical.

Shafee: I put it to you that Nik Faisal forged your signature.

Suboh: Maybe.

Suboh agreed with Shafee that Nik Faisal could have cheated him because he placed too much trust on Nik Faisal and that he was not medically fit.

Shafee also suggested to Suboh that Nik Faisal was probably the “crook” in the SRC scam, to which Suboh replied: “On the hindsight, yes.”

Suboh said he did not check on Nik Faisal’s activities with the then prime minister.

“In fact, nobody in the SRC board, including the chairman (Ismee Ismail), checked with the prime minister,” he said.

Shafee then suggested all these happened due to the “culture of the Malays to jual nama” (throw names) but Suboh did not reply.

Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

Najib is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

The Pekan MP is charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd on Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.

Shafee, with the aid of a projector, had earlier showed the court that Suboh’s signature matched perfectly in the scanned copies when superimposed with several documents, including instructions to Ambank.

He told the court the strokes and loops in Suboh’s signature were the same.

Suboh then admitted to Shafee that he would have given a different answer to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigators who had questioned him seven times, mostly last year.

It was earlier revealed in court through other witnesses that Nik Faisal and Suboh were the signatories of the SRC account from which RM50 million was transferred to Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, which is a subsidiary of SRC.

They were also signatories of the Gandingan Mentari account, where the same RM50 million was transferred to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, a company selected to carry out corporate social responsibility programmes for SRC.

The prosecution is contending that RM42 million from Ihsan Perdana was transferred to Najib’s three Ambank accounts at the Raja Chulan branch.

Nik Faisal was appointed by Najib to manage his accounts, including giving instructions to the bank officers.

The defence had also asserted that Najib’s signature was forged to make fraudulent transfer of funds from his accounts.

It is also building a defence that some rogue bankers were involved and all this was done without Najib’s knowledge.

The hearing before Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.