Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Palace of Justices in Putrajaya August 18, 2022. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
By Kenneth Tee
Thursday, 18 Aug 2022 8:01 PM MYT
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 — It is an irresistible fact that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the controlling and directing mind of SRC International Sdn Bhd, the prosecution told the Federal Court in the former prime minister’s final appeal against his conviction of misappropriating funds from the company today.
Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, who is leading the prosecution in the current appeal, told the five-judge panel how Najib was the “shadow director” of SRC International who issued directions or instructions in a manner by which directors of a company are accustomed.
“This is clearly established from the evidence of the persons actually appointed to control and direct SRC being the members of SRC’s board of directors, namely chairman of the SRC board, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Suboh Yassin,” Sithambaram said.
In detailing the setting up of the former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary, Sithambaram said Najib took steps to ensure he had overarching control of the company by virtue of being a ‘shadow director’.
Sithambaram reiterated that the prosecution’s case against Najib was that the Pekan MP is an agent — namely the prime minister, the finance minister and the company’s Advisor Emeritus — who had acted in breach of trust in relation to SRC International’s funds.
On the power abuse charge, Sithambaram said Najib’s actions and decisions in relation to SRC International were for his own personal benefit.
Citing the testimony of defence witness Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar, Sithambaram said the former Treasury secretary-general had explicitly stated he had never personally come across a situation where a government guarantee was granted in favour of a newly established company with no track record or ability to repay the loan.
Previously, Mohd Irwan testified how companies seeking government guarantees would usually have to wait between one and three months to see the application go through, and that it was not a matter normally completed within several days, as was the case with SRC International.
The other four judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Federal Court judges Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.
The Court of Appeal had on December 8, 2021 upheld the High Court’s July 2020 verdict and sentence of 12 years in prison and a fine of RM210 million meted against Najib.
Najib had been found guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering.
The hearing at the country’s supreme court had been scheduled to take place over nine days, from August 15 to August 19 and will resume after this weekend from August 23 to August 26.
August 15 and 16 were spent hearing Najib’s bid to add new evidence and seek a postponement that were ultimately disallowed by the Federal Court. The court then fixed August 18 as the start of the main SRC International appeal hearing.
The case is now at the Federal Court, and it is Najib’s last chance to convince the judges that his conviction and punishment should be overturned.