KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today complained that he had been unable to access information about his bank account.
He said this was because the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) had directed his bank to stop giving him any information about the account.
The former prime minister’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali he was shocked over the agency’s action.
“This is clearly an act of oppression and victimisation.
“It is also a blatant abuse of the process. I don’t know what law they are applying in issuing such a directive to the bank,” he said.
Shafee said no one had any right to prevent an account holder to access information about his own account.
He said Najib had been able to get all such information until a bank officer called him about the MACC directive which they received via a letter recently.
“The bank officer was in near panic when he told my client about the directive.
“What kind of nonsense is this,” he said, adding Najib needed access to information about his bank account as part of preparations for his ongoing trial.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram told the judge this was the first time he was hearing of the matter and promised to check with the MACC over what was going on.
“I will revert to this court first thing on Monday,” he said, after the matter was brought up at the end of today’s proceedings of Najib’s trial involving abuse of SRC International funds.
‘What has SRC International to show after taking RM4 billion?’
KUALA LUMPUR – A lawyer’s attempt to link projects which were rushed during the tenure of other prime ministers with what Datuk Seri Najib Razak had done fell flat today.
It happened after Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim countered it with one simple query on what Najib had to show from the RM4 billion that was given to SRC International, a Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) linked company.
Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had gone down the path by bringing up the issue of how former prime ministers had also bypassed procedures to implement projects of national importance.
He cited the first Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) and the construction of the North South Highway as examples when cross examining a prosecution witness.
Shafee asked the witness, former Treasury Secretary General Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, if he knew how then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had to get things going quickly to ensure the inaugural Lima was successful and the highway project took off.
“Do you know that for the first Lima there were not enough rooms in Langkawi so some entrepreneurs were asked to build hotels before the land acquisition was done.
“One 103-roomed hotel was built in 100-days. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with it…in fact I laud it.
“The North South Highway by the UEM Group too was a project which was pushed very hard by the then prime minister and the paperwork only followed later,” he said.
Shafee said he had many other examples, including projects which happened under Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s time, but there was no need for him to reveal them to drive home his point.
The veteran lawyer brought it up after asking Wan Abdul Aziz if there was anything wrong for Najib to have asked the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to expedite the release of a RM2 billion loan to SRC International even though the government guarantee letter for it had yet to be issued.
Wan Abdul Aziz, who was also former KWAP chairman, had on Tuesday testified that Najib had called him to request for the pensioner’s fund to release a RM2 billion loan to SRC International before the paperwork was formalised.
He said this was an exceptional practice as a loan can only be released after the guarantee letter was obtained.
However, Shafee today sugggested that it was normal for paperwork to take time and there was “nothing illegal, immoral or wrong” for the ex-prime minister to ask KWAP to consider releasing the funds beforehand.
“It was not wrong or inappropriate. Do You agree there was no wrongdoing because sometimes it needs to be done?
“Moreover, SRC International too was a company set up as a strategic special purpose vehicle to boost the economy,” he asked, to which Wan Abdul Aziz agreed.
Shafee: Everything was done above board, very transparent right?
Wan Abdul Aziz: Yes
Shafee: There was nothing to trigger the alarm bells that the loan should not be given to SRC International.
Wan Abdul Aziz: Agreed
However, immediately after that, Suhaimi asked the 64-year old witness if SRC International had any results to show, after getting the RM4 billion from KWAP.
To this, Wan Abdul Aziz also agreed that there were no visible results shown by SRC International and that he also did not know what had happened to the money.
Suhaimi: Do you know what happened to the money for the SRC International projects?
Wan Abdul Aziz : I don’t know.
Suhaimi: Did you see the outcome of the PLUS and Lima projects?
Wan Abdul Aziz: Yes
Earlier, Shafee also talked about how SRC International could have been another Petronas for Malaysia.
Shafee: Do you agree that the purpose of SRC International’s establishment was actually honourable.
Wan Abdul Aziz: Yes
Shafee: It was to be akin to another Petronas type of company.
Wan Abdul Aziz: Yes
Shafee: If that had been achieved, we would have another Petronas.
Wan Abdul Aziz : Yes
He also agreed with Shafee that in certain cases the government must be pro-active to implement projects, with the paper work only coming later.
Najib, 66, is facing seven counts of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money involving RM42-million of SRC International funds.
He is charged with committing the offences between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.
The Pekan member of parliament faces 20-years’ jail and fine for the offences, if convicted.
The trial before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will continue on Monday.