SRC trial: Najib denies Arab letters were forged

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22): Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pictured) denied that the letters from Arab royalty which were sent to him in relation to the donations he received were faked, as suggested by adhoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram.

During cross-examination in his SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, Najib said he believed that all the monies he spent from his AmBank account between 2011 and 2015 originated from donations.

“I’m putting it to you it was within your knowledge that the donations were used up and funds from SRC were deposited into your account,” said the prosecutor.

“I disagree,” said Najib.

Sithambaram cited the purported donation letters, marked as D601 to D604, which bore the signatures of the Arab prince and pointed out that they were photocopies, and that no original copies were available, although Najib said he once was in possession of them.

“They were important letters and you didn’t hand the originals to MACC,” said Sithambaram.

“No, because they were in the PM’s office,” said Najib.

Sithambaram pointed out that Najib never stated this in his statement and did not inform the MACC that the original documents were with the Prime Minister’s Office.

He continued to push that the donation letters were forged and that Najib never had the originals, as they were fakes.

“No, no, no. I had the originals,” said the former premier.

The accused was then shown two letters that he wrote to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Al-Saud, with the prosecutor pointing out that Najib did not thank the King in his response letters, as they were fakes and produced as an afterthought.

Najib disagreed.

Meanwhile, on the RM2.6 billion purportedly donated to him in 2013, Najib said the major requirement of the funds was for the 13th General Election that year.

“But you said the donation was given due to the appreciation of his majesty for your leadership and managing of the country as a moderate Islamic country. The funds were not given for the purpose of general election, correct?” said Sithambaram.

“It was not specifically mentioned that it was for the general election, but it was to ensure the continuity of the current Government, which indirectly means for the purpose of the election,” replied Najib.

The former premier also highlighted that he had returned the unused portion of the donation to the donor as a gesture of good faith, and emphasised that he returned the money before it even became an issue.

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“You must be the first person to ever return a donation that was given,” quipped the prosecutor.

“I put it to you that you returned the money because it was never a donation to begin with,” said Sithambaram.

“I disagree,” said Najib.

“So what was the purpose of the funds that were given to you after the general election?” asked the prosecutor, referring to another GBP10 million donation the former premier received in 2014.

“For continued contribution to my administration,” said Najib.

“You should have kept the funds the first time around. I find it quite ridiculous to return the money,” said Sithambaram.

The prosecutor also pointed out that the funds came in when Najib’s account was in “dire straits”, and asked if the former premier had requested for more funds from the royal family.

The former premier said he did not ask directly, but suspected Low Taek Jho or Jho Low had contacted the royal family, given his special relationship with them.

The former Prime Minister faces seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving a total of RM42 million SRC funds.

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