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Defence urges Court to acquit Najib of SRC charges

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KUALA LUMPUR — The defence in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial contended that it has raised more than a reasonable doubt in all of the seven charges faced by the former prime minister.

Lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said one particular charge, namely abuse of position, was defective and illegal due to duplicity.

“The range of dates for the abuse of position charge under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 was between August 2011 and March 2012.

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“The charge is defective and prejudicial to the defence and the court is obliged to acquit as there was no way to put the defence as to whether the accused is guilty for the first or second offence when the charge is framed into one,” said Muhammad Shafee while citing two Federal Court judgments, one a criminal breach of trust (CBT) case and the other a MACC case.

Referring to the two cases decided by the Federal Court, Muhammad Shafee said the charge against Najib for abusing his position as Prime Minister to gain gratification should be dismissed.

The defence also maintained that for the money-laundering charges, the essence of the section was to prove that the monies received came from proceeds of a criminal act.

“You cannot have a money laundering offence without proving that the monies received was indeed of an unlawful offence. The prosecution was unable to prove that my client knew or had knowledge that the source of money was proceeds of a crime, and that was not the case,” said the counsel.

On the three CBT charges, the senior lawyer said there was a provision for the three charges to be made into one, as the transactions were done within two months.

He said the first and second offence involving RM27 million and RM5 million respectively, allegedly took place on Dec 26, 2014 while for the third on Feb 10, 2015 involving RM10 million.

“All three CBT charges occurred within two months and yet the prosecution put them in three charges when they don’t have to,” he said.

In closing his submissions today, Muhammad Shafee thanked the judge for being patient in presiding over a long hearing and said that the defence has offered more than a reasonable doubt for him to consider.

“I pray that the court acquits Najib of all (seven) charges,” he said.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V.Sithambaram countered that there were no duplicity or prejudice over the charges as Najib sat in both Cabinet meetings that approved the two government guarantees (GGs) to SRC.

He said both Cabinet meetings and the GGs were for the same company  (SRC) and in the same capacity of being a public officer, Prime Minister and finance minister and for the same gratification and therefore there was no duplicity.

“If gratification of RM42 million, we split it into two separate charges, that means he took RM84 million” he said.

He also said Najib had control and dominion over the company in his capacity as Prime Minister, Finance Minister and public officer.

“This is the prosecution’s case… that the accused is the shadow director of SRC,” he said to rebut the defence’s submissions.

He further said the company also did not take any action over the RM42 million disappearance.

“It is clearly confirmed that this is all done with the knowledge and all done to hide this offence from being shown to the world,” he concluded.

Najib is facing seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.

The Pekan MP allegedly committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Ambank Group Building, No 55, Jalan Raja Chulan here, and at the Prime Minister’s Office, Precinct 1, Putrajaya, between Aug 17, 2011, and March 2, 2015.

After the proceedings, Sithambaram told the media that the prosecution had established its case on all the seven charges against the accused and leave it to the judge to evaluate.

“I am convinced the facts are on the prosecution’s side. We have done our duty and proved our case beyond all reasonable doubt,”  he said.

Muhammad Shafee, meanwhile, expressed confidence the defence had put up a good fight to counter the seven charges which had been preferred against the former prime minister.

— BERNAMA