Grilled on his signature, Najib questions SRC letter’s validity

Najib Razak disputed the validity of a letter bearing his signature tendered in court today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak disputed the authenticity of a letter tendered in court today bearing his signature, which gave him greater control over SRC International through amendments to the company’s constitution.

When shown by the prosecution a letter he signed on behalf of the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc), Najib said the copy was not the original version.

“I am standing by what I said in my witness statement that I could not confirm that this letter was a genuine one,” the former prime minister told ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram, referring to the letter dated April 23, 2012.

Sithambaram then reminded Najib of his answers in court last week during questioning by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.

The letter stated that he, as prime minister, agreed with amendments to SRC International’s constitution by adding two new provisions, which would allow the prime minister to be appointed as the adviser emeritus to advise the board of directors on issues related to Malaysia’s strategic interest.

Najib had then told the court that he remembered signing the letter.

Sithambaram: When AG asked you about the letter, you were also looking at the photocopy version.

Najib then insisted that that letter was not the original version.

Sithambaram: “I put it to Datuk Seri that the prosecution’s case was that the amendments were meant to tighten your grip on the board of directors, do you agree?”

Najib disagreed, and said: “You said that I was running SRC as if I was running my company business.”

He said the amendments were to ensure SRC International could act on behalf of government matters.

Hearing continues on Jan 6 before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The court will also hear Najib’s application on Jan 7 to have a handwriting and signature expert to examine the validity of his signatures on government and bank documents tendered in court previously.

Last week, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the court that the defence would bring in an Australian expert to determine the authenticity of signatures and handwriting on exhibits used in the trial.

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

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 Incorporated.