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Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has no pecuniary (financial) interest in SRC International, the Court of Appeal heard today.
The former premier’s legal team submitted this during the hearing of his appeal to quash his conviction and sentencing in the RM42 million SRC corruption case.
Defence counsel Farhan Read submitted that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had erred in its ruling against Najib.
This was because trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali failed to establish that Najib ever had a pecuniary interest in SRC, which is fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated, he said.
The lawyer contended the judge’s finding that Najib having “conduct and control” over SRC by itself does not suffice to show that the accused ever had a pecuniary interest in the company.
SRC at one point used to be a subsidiary of troubled sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. The former premier was also the finance minister, advisor emeritus to SRC, and chairperson of 1MDB’s board of advisors.
“What we submit is that we do not dispute what the judge said to be 'conduct and control' being an important feature, but by themselves, they do not establish (Najib ever having) pecuniary interest (in SRC),” Farhan submitted as Najib looked on from the dock.Defence counsel Farhan Read
The lawyer contended that this is important as one of the seven charges that Najib was convicted of, namely one count of abuse of power under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, require proof that the accused has a pecuniary interest in SRC.
On July 28 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court convicted Najib on one count of abuse of power, three counts of CBT, and three counts of money laundering in relation to the RM42 million of funds from SRC.
Judge Nazlan had then sentenced Najib to 12 years in jail and a fine of RM210 million.
However, the lower court allowed the defence team's application to stay the sentence's execution pending the disposal of his appeal.
During the proceedings, Farhan used an analogy involving two British football teams – Manchester United and Liverpool – to demonstrate that Najib has no pecuniary interest in SRC.
“As an example, the appellant, who is a known strong supporter of Manchester United, is the president of a Malaysian football club, and the said club is involved in the discussion to bring in a football team from overseas.
“Najib then suggests that Manchester United be brought in when in fact the better team is Liverpool.
“After investigation, the appellant is said to have made an investment into Manchester United and would obtain a large reward when bringing the team into this country.
“Only during that time, could it be said that Najib has a pecuniary interest,” Farhan submitted, as Najib and others in court chuckled at the analogy.