Crime & Courts

Sithambaram gets into top gear cementing case against Najib [NSTTV]

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk V Sithambaram today got into top gear cementing the prosecution's case against Datuk Seri Najib Razak by reiterating why the Federal Court should uphold the former prime minister's conviction for corruption in the SRC International case.

The senior criminal lawyer, who is acting as an ad hoc prosecutor in this case, outlined in detail how Najib had been implicated in the mess.

He also walked the panel of five judges through point by point on how and why High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had convicted Najib on all seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds.

Najib, who cut a desolate figure sitting in the dock with a handful of his daily entourage sitting behind him, was occasionally seen with his head down as he was forced to again listen to every wrongdoing, he had been found guilty of.

Today's hearing started in a no less dramatic manner than how the whole appeal had been conducted from day one on Monday.

Immediately after the court was called into session, Najib's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik stood up and informed the bench that his client had discharged the newly appointed law firm of Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan TH Liew & Partners from representing him.

However, this piece of news did not seem to surprise Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and the other judges comprising of Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, and Federal Court Judges Datuk P Nalini, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan and Datuk Muhammad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

Hisyam had barely finished informing the judges about what Najib had done when Tengku Maimun called on Sithambaram to proceed with his submissions.

It was previously reported that Najib had dropped his long-time counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and his law firm Shafee & Co from representing him in the SRC appeal just weeks before it was scheduled to begin.

He had then appointed former law minister Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim's firm to act as his solicitors. Zaid was present in court since the appeal hearings began on Monday but he and others from his firm were nowhere to be seen today.

Hisyam had yesterday also applied to discharge himself from representing Najib but was barred from doing so by the judges, who made it clear the Apex Court would not entertain any more appeals for the hearing to be postponed.

Meanwhile, after the issue of the solicitors being dropped was dealt with, Sithambaram wasted no time convincing the judges on the prosecution's case.

He touched on various findings made by the trial judge, including the origin of SRC funds which ended in Najib's personal accounts, Black Berry messages between the former Umno president and fugitive financier Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low, the so called Arab donations and also issue of knowledge involving the RM42 million.

Touching on the issue of knowledge, he said Najib himself had admitted that the money came from SRC. This, he said, was affirmed by the Pekan member of parliament in an affidavit filed in Najib's lawsuit against former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in 2016.

Therefore, he said it was clear that Najib had deliberately lied when he said that he did not know the source of the funds when asked about it during the SRC trial.

On the so-called Arab donations, Sithambaram said Najib had vehemently argued that the money in his personal accounts originated from the Saudi Royalty.

However, he said the trial judge had fittingly found that the Arab donation story was unbelievable when weighed against the totality of evidence.

Sithambaram also ripped into Najib's relations with Jho Low and pointed out that whatever actions taken by the fugitive was to ensure there were adequate funds for to former's use.

He said Nazlan had rightly pointed out that despite all the allegations against Jho Low, the fact remained that RM42 million from SRC had ended up in Najib's accounts and was fully spent by the latter.

Najib is appealing against the 12 year jail sentence and RM210 million fine that was imposed on him by Nazlan for misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International money.

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