Najib always presented a truthful defence, lawyer says at close of SRC case

Former prime minister Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence in Najib Razak’s SRC International case today said the former prime minister’s testimony in court had always been truthful.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the High Court in his closing submissions that the defence had always maintained that Najib was a victim and had been misrepresented by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, former company CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, SRC International’s management members and “a group of rogue bankers”.

“Assuming our defence is true, it is an extremely cumbersome and difficult one because he was surrounded by the people who committed the scam and he was a victim.

“The circumstances surrounding him (Najib) would deprive him of the defence that would otherwise be available to the common man, who was then a sitting prime minister,” he said.

He also noted the time lapse between Najib’s first charge of abuse of power in obtaining RM42 million in kickbacks over government loan guarantees and the fifth to seventh charges concerning the transfer of SRC International funds into his accounts.

“The first charge said the offence took place between August 2011 and February 2012.

“If we compare the money laundering charges, the money said to be from SRC International went into his accounts more than three years later.”

In normal corruption cases, he said, the accused person would have asked for the promised kickbacks within a short period of time.

“Wouldn’t the most powerful man, namely corrupt in that sense, say: ‘Look, I’m giving you RM4 billion; you’d better give me the RM42 million upfront or even a day or two before this thing is done’?”

Shafee also labelled the prosecution’s narrative through the charges as “outlandish”.

He told the court that former SRC International chairman Ismee Ismail and former director Suboh Md Yasin had testified that they were unaware of where the majority of the RM4 billion KWAP loan was moved.

“They did not even know that SRC International had an account with AmBank. The money was hijacked from right under their noses.”

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

In addition to the charges of power abuse and money laundering, Najib faces three counts of criminal breach of trust over the transfer of RM42 million to his accounts.

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