Court finds Najib guilty of corruption

Former prime minister Najib Razak outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak has been found guilty of all seven counts of corruption in connection with RM42 million belonging to former 1MDB unit SRC International.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Najib is the first former prime minister to be tried and convicted on criminal charges for actions taken while in office.

He was charged in 2018 with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three of money laundering and one of abuse of power, soon after his Barisan Nasional government fell from federal power.

For the abuse of power charge, trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the defence had failed to rebut the presumption in Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

He said evidence showed that Najib knew of the transactions into the three AmBank Islamic accounts but intentionally withheld this information from the public.

He also said neither SRC International nor Najib had taken legal action against AmBank Islamic.

“There was never any indication (of wrongdoing),” he said.

Nazlan said the defence had likewise failed to raise reasonable doubt on the CBT and money laundering charges.

For the abuse of power charge, Najib was found guilty of using his position as prime minister and finance minister to commit bribery by participating in Cabinet meetings to provide government guarantees for RM4 billion in loans for SRC International from the Retirement Fund Incorporated.

He committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 7, 2011 and Feb 8, 2012.

The punishment under Section 24 of the MACC Act is jail of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of RM42 million.

On the first count of CBT, meanwhile, he was found guilty as prime minister, finance minister and adviser emeritus to SRC International entrusted with the control of RM4 billion worth of funds of CBT involving RM27 million.

On the second count, he misappropriated SRC International funds amounting to RM5 million and, on the third count, a further RM10 million.

He committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd at Jalan Raja Chulan here between Dec 24, 2014 and Dec Feb 15, 2015.

The punishment under Section 409 of the Penal Code is a maximum jail term of 20 years, whipping and a fine.

For the three counts of money laundering, he was found guilty of receiving RM42 million in proceeds from unlawful activities.

He committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd here between Dec 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.

The punishment under Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 is a maximum jail term of 15 years and the return of five times the RM42 million.

In his judgment, Nazlan said the testimony of defence witness and former treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah did not support Najib’s case.

“The witness said the normal approval process for government guarantees takes at least one month.

“But in this case, the first guarantee for SRC International to secure the RM2 billion loan took less than a week,” he said.

On Najib’s argument that he was a victim of Low Taek Jho’s “scam”, Nazlan said it was “far-fetched and self-serving”.

“It is hardly a financial scam,” he added.

After the judgment was delivered, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the defence needed time to prepare its mitigation.

“We cannot do complete mitigation without clear instructions from our client,” he said.

“We are asking for mitigation to be held on Monday (Aug 3).”