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Datuk Seri Najib Razak's lawyers were accused of playing a cat and mouse game with the prosecution by questioning the authenticity of the former Prime Minister's signatures. -NSTP/ ASWADI ALIAS.

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak's lawyers were accused of playing a cat and mouse game with the prosecution by questioning the authenticity of the former Prime Minister's signatures on several contentious documents linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Lead prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said Najib's attempt to call an Australian handwriting expert at this stage to verify the signatures was nothing more than an afterthought and a tactical manoeuvre.

"This whole application to call a handwriting expert at this stage of the trial is a clear cut case of mala fide.

"They never questioned the authenticity of his signatures before and during the prosecution stage. Now, they are shouting that his signatures were forged," he said.

Sithambaram said this in his submission to rebut Najib's application to call Australian handwriting expert Dr Steven Strach to verify the Pekan Member of Parliament's signatures on seven contentious documents relating to SRC International Bhd's shareholders minutes.

Najib's lawyers are arguing that they only discovered that the signatures could have been forged in the course of the trial and want the handwriting expert to verify them.

However, Sithambaram said Najib never raised the issue of his signatures being forged right from the time he was first questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015 and 2018.

On the contrary, he said the 66-year-old had not only acknowledged the contents of the documents, but also admitted signing them.

"Now, they are (asking) why the prosecution did not send the documents to be examined by an expert to confirm Najib's signatures.

"The answer is simple...he never disputed these were his signatures in the first place. Instead, he not only confirmed the contents of the documents but also admitted that these were his signatures. It is only now that the story has changed.

"They are just playing a cat and mouse game here," he said.

Earlier, Najib's lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh, argued that the defence should be allowed to call in their handwriting expert to examine the documents.

He said the court can then decide on the outcome of the expert's findings.

Sithambaram will continue with his submissions before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali tomorrow.

Najib is accused of three counts of money laundering and three counts of criminal breach of trust over RM42 million of SRC International funds.

He is also accused of abusing his power as Prime Minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International's RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

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