Witness admits giving contradictory statements on signatures to MACC

Former SRC director Suboh Md Yassin.

KUALA LUMPUR: A prosecution witness in Najib Razak’s corruption and abuse of power trial admitted making conflicting statements to anti-graft investigators in relation to his 13 signatures to instruct a bank to transfer funds, the High Court heard today,

Former SRC director Suboh Md Yassin said he first told Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC) officers who met him in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Nov 17, 2015, that the signatures in the Real Time Electronics Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas) instructions to Ambank were genuine.

Suboh, who was cross-examined by defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, said he told MACC officers in Putrajaya on May 28 and 30 last year that his signatures could have been forged.

The 42nd prosecution witness also said he once again told MACC officers on Aug 13 and 15 last year that the signatures were genuine.

“The last two statements was given after Najib Razak was initially charged with one count of corruption and three counts of abuse of power,” he said.

Suboh, 68, said he made contradictory statements because he could not remember whether the hard and/or scanned copies of Rentas instructions forms that carried his signatures were shown to him.

However, he said he was now certain the signatures in the documents were forged or manipulated following a demonstration by the defence yesterday and today.

One key feature during the presentation was that Suboh’s signatures in the scanned copies were identical.

Shafee had remarked that signatures of a person could only be similar but never perfectly identical.

The defence is suggesting that former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil could have photoshopped Suboh’s signature in the scanned copies before sending them to the bank to carry out the instruction to transfer funds.

Shafee had also suggested that Nik Faisal had forged and abused Suboh’s signature to be put in the hard copies.

To expedite transactions, bank customers will first submit scanned copies via e-mail and later send the hard copies within 48 hours.

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, 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.

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.

The hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.