Ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram told the Court of Appeal today that the defence’s argument on the use of forged or cut-and-paste signatures by two SRC International directors to remit RM42 million into Najib Razak’s personal accounts was not an issue in the case.
He said if at all there was a dispute, it was between the company and the bank, not Najib.
“The defence are merely busybodies. Najib has no privity of contract with the bank. The issue of forged or unauthorised scan and electronic transfer is a non-starter, especially for the criminal breach of trust charges.
“The issue raised is a red herring by the defence and who would have the audacity to fix a then-sitting prime minister (Najib).
“The appellant did not sue the bank for negligence or ask the financial institution to pay back the money… no company will keep quiet if there is no proper authorisation and withdrawal of money,” he said, adding that there was evidence that the SRC directors had authorised the bank to conduct electronic transfers while the bank said it had also acted based on the mandate of SRC International signatories.
He submitted this before a three-member bench led by judge 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 funds.
The other two judges on the bench were Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
The Penang-based veteran criminal lawyer said Najib had not returned the RM42 million deposited into his accounts although he had admitted to receiving the money belonging to SRC International.
Last week, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah submitted that the prosecution’s case would have collapsed if the evidence of one of the signatories and SRC International directors, Suboh Md Yassin, was rejected by the trial court as he had made contradictory statements.
Suboh told the court that he had at first told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigators who met him in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Nov 17, 2015, that the 13 signatures in the electronic fund transfer instructions to the bank were genuine.
However, when cross-examined by Shafee, he said he told MACC officers in Putrajaya on May 28 and 30, 2018 that his signatures could have been forged.
Suboh also said that on Aug 13 and 15, 2018, he had once again told MACC officers that the signatures were genuine.
The defence had suggested that former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil could have manipulated Suboh’s signature in the scanned copies before sending them to the bank to carry out the instructions to transfer funds.
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.