Sunday, June 20, 2021

Najib’s lawyer questions testimony of foundation’s ex-CEO

He says Ung Su Ling’s testimony is hearsay, questioning her explanation for not producing the instructions she said she had received through WhatsApp.

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The testimony of the former CEO of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) that Najib Razak’s then-principal private secretary had asked to coordinate the transfer of RM42 million into the former prime minister’s bank account is hearsay and inadmissible, the Court of Appeal was told today.

The former prime minister’s counsel, Harvinderjit Singh, in his submission, said Ung Su Ling’s testimony was disputed as her September 2014 meeting with the late Azlin Alias and his so-called instructions were relied on as evidence in the prosecution’s case.

He said the alleged instructions in December 2014 and February 2015 to Ung from Azlin were purportedly from WhatsApp messages which had not been produced and were admitted to having been disposed of.

Azlin died in a helicopter crash on April 4, 2015.

Harvinderjit added that neither the primary document – a mobile phone – nor WhatsApp messages had been produced.

“When Ung was cross-examined during the trial, she said she had deleted the messages and disposed of the phone as she wanted to ‘erase the painful memory’,” he said in submitting before a three-member bench led by Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, in the hearing of Najib’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Harvinderjit also said that the trial judge, Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, in his decision had relied on Ung’s evidence of her conversation with Azlin to link Najib to the case.

“In summary, Ung’s explanations in context of her education, background and stature did not make any sense. She was no country bumpkin. She was a lawyer by training and had quite a number of years in the corporate field.

“She testified that she purportedly received instructions from Azlin through WhatsApp but deleted them after she found out that Azlin had passed away on April 4, 2015. However, she thereafter admitted that by that date, she was aware of the controversy surrounding SRC International.

The lawyer said if Ung’s instructions were indeed from Azlin, she would have saved the messages to protect herself.

He also said her explanation that she had deleted the messages and thrown her phone away was dubious and on the whole, incredible.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210 million after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.

The hearing of the appeal continues tomorrow.

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