KUALA LUMPUR: Tomorrow, for the first time in Malaysia’s history, a former Prime Minister will take the stand to answer charges against him in a court of law.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 66, will testify from the witness box as the first defence witness to rebut his seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
According to his co-counsel, Harvinderjit Singh, Najib will be called as the first witness on the first day of the defence proceedings.
Najib will first be questioned by his defence during examination-in-chief, before being cross-examined by the prosecution.
On Nov 11, justice Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.
Najib had three options to choose from – to give sworn evidence in the witness box where he will be subjected to cross-examination; to give an unsworn statement from the dock where he cannot be cross-examined; or to remain silent, in which case the court must proceed to convict him.
The Pekan MP chose the first option – to give evidence under oath from the witness stand where he will be cross-examined by the prosecution.
In his judgment, justice Mohd Nazlan ruled that Najib had used his office or position for gratification and had utilised RM42 million of SRC’s funds, in which he had an interest, for his personal use and advantage.
The judge also held that the accused had enormous influence and wielded an overarching position of power at SRC, and that the prosecution has succeeded in establishing there was a CBT by Najib over funds of the company.
He is accused of committing the offences between Aug 17, 2011 and March 2, 2015.
The court fixed Dec 3 and 4, Dec 9 until 12, and Dec 16 to 19 for Najib to enter his defence.
The prosecution team is led by Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. The team also comprises ad-hoc deputy public prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram; while Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah leads a group of defence counsels.
On Oct 22 and 23, the court heard lengthy submissions from the prosecution and defence teams. The prosecution had on Aug 27, closed its case after 58 days of trial with 57 witnesses called to testify.
During the trial, the prosecution tendered more than 750 exhibits, including bank documents relating to Najib’s bank accounts, cash transactions, minutes of meetings and Blackberry Messenger chats over Najib’s transactions.
Najib, who served as the sixth Prime Minister from 2009 to 2018, will be the first head of government of Malaysia to find himself in the dock of a court. – Bernama