Najib opts to give sworn statement in defence over RM42m SRC corruption trial

Kenneth Tee
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 11, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has chosen to give a sworn statement to answer his charges over the alleged RM42 million misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd, the High Court heard today.

The decision was relayed to High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali by a court interpreter after Najib, standing from the accused dock, informed the court of his decision.

With a prima facie established against him, Najib had three options to make his defence — by sworn evidence from the witness stand where he will be subjected to cross-examination, by unsworn statement from the accused dock, or remaining silent.

Since Najib has chosen to give a sworn statement, he will be the first to be called to the witness stand in accordance with Section 181 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Section 181 of the CPC stipulates that if any accused person elects to be called as a witness, his evidence shall be taken before that of other witnesses for the defence.

At the defence stage of the trial, the prosecution must also prove beyond reasonable doubt in order for the court to find the accused guilty, and subsequently convict the accused as charged.

If the prosecution fails to do so, Najib who is the accused, will be acquitted and discharged.

Earlier today Mohd Nazlan ordered Najib to enter his defence after the prosecution successfully proved prima facie against Najib on all seven charges.

Out of the seven charges leveled against  Najib, the Pekan MP 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 under an anti-corruption law of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same RM42 million sum.

The remaining three of the seven charges are for allegedly money-laundering the same total sum of RM42 million.

Later Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the defence would be filing two applications to the court on two matters — the list of witnesses whose statements were recorded by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) but not offered to the defence and copies of all statements recorded by the MACC and the police from witnesses.

He then requested the court to fix a date as soon as possible for the applications to be heard so that the defence could be prepared in a whole sum fashion before the commencement of the defence stage on December 3.

Ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram said the prosecution would be responding accordingly before requesting the court to fix hearing for the applications on Friday.

Mohd Nazlan then ordered the defence to file both applications as soon as possible and set November 15 for hearing at 2.45pm.

Najib’s SRC International trial began on April 3 this year with the prosecution calling 57 witnesses to the stand.

The High Court had previously on August 27 fixed December 3 to 4, December 9 to 19 excluding Fridays for trial at the defence stage if Najib's defence is called.

Mohd Nazlan also confirmed the dates previously fixed in December for the defence stage would remained unchanged.

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