Najib’s lawyers want Aussie expert to verify signatures, handwriting

Najib Razak’s lead lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, says the Australian expert can examine the court exhibits in the presence of court staff and prosecution members.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak’s defence team in his SRC International trial wants to bring in a foreign expert to determine the authenticity of signatures and handwriting on certain court exhibits.

Najib’s lead lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, told the High Court today the expert will arrive here from Australia on Wednesday night.

He proposed that the expert conducts his examination of the exhibits in the presence of court staff and prosecution members.

“There will be no interference with the exhibits. After he (the expert) has examined the exhibits, he will return home and prepare his report,” Shafee said.

However, ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaran objected to the defence’s request, citing that the prosecution may be prejudiced.

“I would want to argue this formally, and they should file a formal application and file in an affidavit where we can respond to it,” he said.

High Court trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali told the defence team to file a formal application for his consideration.

Another of Najib’s lawyers, Harvinderjit Singh, then said they will file the application this week.

Earlier, Najib told the court that there was no documentary evidence or witness testimony that he misappropriated and instructed the transfer of SRC International’s funds into his bank accounts.

“There was no evidence adduced in court that I had asked for any gratification during the issuance of government guarantees to SRC,” he said in his testimony.

Questioned by his lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammad, on why he did not lodge a police report after news of the alleged transfer of the RM42 million SRC International funds broke out, he said he did not do so or make any public statements because he did not want to be seen to be interfering with the authorities.

“In 2016, the attorney-general came out to say that there was no evidence to link me to any wrongdoing. This is something I hold till today,” he said.

Aizuddin said the defence will call former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali to testify on his reported press statement that there was no evidence in the authorities’ investigation to show that Najib had abused his position as prime minister and finance minister.

Najib also said that his late principal private secretary, Azlin Alias, may have been deceived by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil on issues related to his bank accounts.

“The claim made by a witness (former Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia CEO Ung Su Ling) that Azlin had instructed her to transfer funds from IPSB (Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd) to my accounts was baseless and during the course of trial, it was revealed that she was Low’s associate,” he said.

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

He 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 hearing before Nazlan continues tomorrow.