I was shocked when MACC recommended charging Najib, ex-prosecutor tells court

Former DPP Dzulkifli Ahmad says he felt the case against Najib Razak should have been classified under ‘No further action’. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy public prosecutor Dzulkilfi Ahmad said he was “shocked” when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015 recommended that the Attorney-General’s Chambers press charges against then prime minister Najib Razak for alleged “dishonest misappropriation of funds” related to SRC International.

He told the High Court the recommendation was made by then MACC special operations division director Bahri Mohammad Zin in his written note on the anti-graft body’s investigation papers submitted to the AGC on Dec 31, 2015.

“To us in AGC, it is important to prove the element of knowledge under Section 403 of the Penal Code,” he said, adding that in the opinion of then attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and himself, the case should have been classified under “no further action” or NFA.

He said this in response to questions from Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, about his reaction upon receiving the MACC’s investigation papers and recommendations.

Dzulkifli was one of the deputy public prosecutors assigned by Apandi to look into MACC’s investigation papers involving the SRC International and RM2.6 billion “donation” cases. The other DPPs were Muhamad Anas Mahadzir, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed, Noor Zalizan Lazarous, Saiful Hazmi Mohd Saad and Nazran Mohd Sham.

Dzulkifli, now a lawyer, said 1MDB investigating officer R Rajagopal told him in November 2015 that then MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed had also suggested to the AG at the time, Abdul Gani Patail, to press charges against Najib during a 1MDB special task force meeting at Gani’s house on July 4 the same year.

“He said he took notes of the meeting. What Rajagopal said was he heard Abu Kassim telling Gani to charge Najib as Gani was nearing his retirement, and made a remark that ‘people will remember you’,” he said.

Dzulkifli said that when Abu Kassim made the statement to Gani on July 4, MACC had not recorded statements from Najib and other key witnesses such as former SRC International chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, former company director Suboh Md Yassin and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

“Their evidence was important to prove the ingredient of the charges. In that situation, charges cannot be brought as the investigation was not complete,” he said.

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

He is also charged with three counts of money laundering and three counts of criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his accounts from the former 1MDB unit.

The hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.