Time lapse in Najib getting money irrelevant, SRC trial told

Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram replies to argument by defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that the narrative put forward by the prosecution is ‘quite outlandish’.

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Najib Razak’s SRC International trial told the High Court today that the lapse in time between his approval of government guarantees to the time he received RM42 million is irrelevant to the case.

Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram said this in reply to the defence’s argument that three years had lapsed from the time the former prime minister allegedly abused his power in approving government guarantees to the company to get a RM4 billion loan and the time he received RM42 million from the company.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had earlier told the court that the narrative put forward by the prosecution was “quite outlandish”, saying that in normal corruption cases, an accused person would ask for the kickbacks promised within a short time.

Sithambaran said: “We say that the lapse of three years from the date the accused chaired the Cabinet meeting to approve the first government guarantee until SRC’s money was deposited into his account is irrelevant.

“As long as the prosecution can show that there was a nexus between his actions in chairing the meetings as well as his actions prior, such as establishing SRC, approving loans to SRC, preparing Cabinet papers on the guarantees, up until SRC’s money ended up into his account, the case will hold.”

He added that the company’s then CEO and the person authorised to handle Najib’s bank accounts, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, was a director and also bank account signatory.

“Money could be siphoned off at any time when the need arose.”

Sithambaram said the court should consider facts regarding the series of events, from the incorporation of SRC International until RM42 million was credited and utilised by Najib to his personal advantage, as a single episode.

“We say that this was a premeditated and deliberate scheme by the accused to commit a corrupt act with financial gratification foremost in his mind. The interval of time between the approval of government guarantees until the receipt of the said gratification (RM42 million) is immaterial in law,” he added.

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

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 (KWAP).

He was slapped with three counts of money laundering and three counts of criminal breach of trust in the transfer of SRC International’s RM42 million into his accounts.

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