Taken aback by the question posed by ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, Najib, 67, initially replied, “that is not a fair question” before saying “I do not know” on who would have the courage to forge his signatures during his tenure as both prime minister and finance minister.
The purported signatures were contained in documents relating to SRC International Sdn Bhd’s loan applications to the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).
Sithambaram: As the (then) prime minister and the finance minister, the most powerful man (in the country), who would have forged your signature?
Najib: That is not a fair question.
Sithambaram: It is a fair one. The question is simple. You are a powerful man. This is SRC, a government-linked (company) under the Finance Minister Incorporated. And you keep saying that your signatures were forged. Who would have the audacity to do it?
Najib: I believe that former SRC director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin also said that his signatures were forged.
Sithambaram: That’s not the question. I’m asking you (this since) you keep telling that your signatures were manipulated and forged. I want to know who would have done it, in a government-linked company.
Najib: I don’t know.
Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, you are now saying the board of directors in SRC was acting on forged documents.
Sithambaram: When you were shown the photocopy (of SRC documents by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission during the investigation) … you didn’t ask for the original because you knew that was your signatures.
Najib: I disagree.
Earlier, Sithambaram and Najib sparred on the manner the cabinet paper relating to the SRC loan applications were prepared for presentation to a cabinet meeting.
The paper was prepared by the deputy secretary in the Finance Ministry’s strategic investment department, Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz who was a prosecution witness.
Sithambaram: Afidah testified that she was pressured to complete the cabinet paper in a short period of time. Due to this pressure, she reported it to her former supervisor Maliami Hamad who, in response, told her that it was an “order from above” and it was the “PM’s company”.
Najib: I disagree.
Najib also testified that he was not aware of difficulties faced by the Finance Ministry in obtaining information from SRC International for the cabinet paper preparation for a government guarantee.
“I assume they must have sufficient information to prepare the cabinet paper. If they didn’t have sufficient information, the head of treasury must tell me”, said Najib.
In response to this, Sithambaram said Najib had been shifting the blame on everyone else in this case, but the latter disagreed.
Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The hearing before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.