KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of missing chocolates from Datuk Seri Najib Razak's refrigerator after police raided his house in May was raised in the High Court today, catching everyone by surprise.
It happened as a prosecutor tried to establish how meticulous Najib had been in managing his personal affairs, to the extent of keeping an inventory of chocolates in his house.
Datuk V Sithambaram suddenly brought up the topic in the midst of cross-examining the 66-year old, who is also the former Finance Minister.
The lead prosecutor in the case had been questioning Najib all morning about how he found it difficult to understand a person of the latter's stature could have been so oblivious to his own private banking accounts.
Najib had maintained all along that he did not keep track of the balance in his accounts and relied mainly on intuition that there was enough money in them for him to keep issuing cheques.
It reached a stage where Sithambaram could take it no more and suddenly changed tack in his line of questioning.
Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, you are a careful man. You were careful with government funds?
Najib: Government funds?....Yes, of course
Sithambaram: What about your personal funds?
Najib: I did not pay too much attention to them
Sithambaram: Datuk Seri, I recall reading newspaper reports that after police raided your house you complained that chocolates were missing from your fridge...
Najib: Actually my daughter complained to me.
Sithambaram: So it was not your chocolates?
Najib: Not my chocolates.
Sithambaram: I find it difficult to comprehend that you being a former prime minister and finance minister were clueless of your own bank accounts and just went by your senses (before issuing cheques without knowing the balance amount).
Najib: That's my style.
Sithambaram: I put it to you that your evidence of having no knowledge of your account balances is self serving and blatantly false.
Najib: I disagree.
It was reported previously that Najib had complained about some policemen raiding the fridge in his house and eating chocolates that had been kept there during their search and seizure operation in May.
Former Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) Datuk Amar Singh was even asked about it later but he said no one had come forward to lodge an official report.
Earlier, Najib maintained that his private bank accounts were managed by his former private secretary Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who has since gone on the run.
Najib also reiterated that he had always believed whatever money in his accounts was leftover from the Arab donation he received.
He admitted issuing hundreds of cheques for political and other causes that ran into millions of ringgit without ever checking how much he had left.
When asked if he ever kept track of his bank balances, Najib kept saying he did not and relied entirely on his senses.
Asked if he at the very least kept note of his balances by writing it down on his cheque book butts, the Pekan member of parliament said it was something he never did.
Sithambaram: So your accounts were managed purely by Nik Faisal?
Sithambaram: Logically only he can confirm the balance with you?
Sithambaram: You are saying each time you issued a cheque you never found out what is the balance in your account.
Sithambaram: So if you needed to check on your balance you did it by contacting Nik Faisal.
Najib: No. I checked with my principal private secretary, the late Azlin Alias but I never consulted him for every cheque that I issue..only once in a while.
Sithambaram: I find it pelik la (strange)..nobody issues cheques just based on their senses... that there is enough money in their accounts..more so when you are a finance minister...as though money was just floating around.
Najib: I just sensed that there was enough money.
Sithambaram will continue with the cross-examination when the trial resumes before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on Jan 6.
Najib is charged with committing three coun
ts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power involving RM42 million of SRC International funds, a former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) linked company which was subsequently placed under the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc).
He is also facing three money laundering charges over the same funds. He faces up to 20 years' jail if convicted