KUALA LUMPUR: A prosecution witness in Najib Razak’s corruption and abuse of power trial told the High Court today all words in his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators came from him.
Former SRC director Suboh Md Yassin said he was also not coached by MACC officers or deputy public prosecutors to prepare his witness statement.
This came about when Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh cross-examined Suboh as a similar paragraph in his witness statement was also found in SRC chairman Ismee Ismail’s witness statement.
Both, in their witness statements which was read out in court, stated that the company’s board of directors will act on the advice of the prime minister (Najib) in his capacity as adviser emeritus of SRC.
Harvinderjit: Is every single word in the witness statement yours?
Suboh : Yes.
Harvinderjit: Did you know how Ismee’s statement came into yours?
Suboh: I don’t know.
The witness said he dictated his statement to a MACC investigating officer who later came back with a draft and he approved the contents.
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.
Suboh, who has been on the witness stand for four working days since June 20, will return to court on Monday to continue with the cross-examination and re-examination.
Trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then cautioned Suboh, who is the 42nd prosecution witness, not to discuss the case with anyone.
Najib’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, told a news conference later that the defence had managed to show to the court that Suboh’s signatures in the bank documents were forged or manipulated.
One key feature during a demonstration on Monday and yesterday 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 on 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 on 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.
Shafee also said outside the court that the defence had established that a secret bank account existed but SRC board members were not told about it upon their appointment on Aug 23, 2011.
The lawyer said the first batch of a RM2 billion loan from the pensioner’s fund, KWAP, was deposited into SRC’s account but also transferred out on the same day, on Aug 29, 2011.
“Nobody on the board knew where the money went,” he said, adding that Nik Faisal was defrauding the company.
Shafee said the hiring and firing of any directors was with the board and not with Najib.
“Under Malaysian company law, the board is the most powerful body,” he said, adding that Najib could not impose his will if his advice is against the interests of SRC’s objectives.
He said all the board members, who included Ismee and Suboh, were people of great eminence.
“Suboh’s testimony will help clear Najib from the accusations,” he added.