Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak prays with supporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex December 3, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak prays with supporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex December 3, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence team began efforts today to dismantle the prosecution’s case against the former prime minister accused of corruption involving RM42 million from SRC International.

Najib, the first former Malaysian prime minister to ever be charged with a crime, is expected to take the stand today to testify in his own defence against charges of abuse and misappropriation.

In his opening statement to the High Court today, lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the defence aimed to show that the former prime minister was not an intentional party to any alleged abuse or corruption.

“The defence will ultimately submit that the evidence as a whole establish that there was no misuse of office by Najib.

“And that there was no corrupt arrangement under which gratification was offered, solicited or caused to be received by Najib.

“Ultimately we will pray for an order that Najib be acquitted and discharged of all seven charges as the same would be merited given the above,” he said.

He claimed Najib never had a personal interest in SRC International that put him in conflict with his public duty and that the former prime minister had acted in the best interests of the government and Malaysia.

“The acts and involvement of Najib in matters concerning SRC led to matters which were endorsed or ultimately approved by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), the economic planning minister, the Ministry of Finance, the Treasury and/or the Cabinet,” he said.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 20, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 20, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Muhammad Shafee also outlined matters which were reflected in evidence adduced during the prosecution’s case which the defence would rely on.

Among them was how there was no credible evidence as to how SRC International funds were in fact utilised and how the RM42 million transactions were done at the behest of third parties for their own ulterior benefit.

In the statement, Muhammad Shafee also said evidence will show Najib was not in control of SRC International and not entrusted with dominion over SRC funds — directly or indirectly.

“Najib also did not misappropriate funds of SRC either directly or indirectly.

“The bulk of the evidence as a whole supports the inference that Najib had no knowledge of or reasonable suspicion to believe that there were proceeds of any illegal activity transacted into his accounts,” he added.

Out of the seven charges, Najib is accused of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.

Najib’s defence trial will run from December 3 to 4, December 9 to 12 and December 16 to 19.