SRC trial: Ex-AG Apandi stands by 2016 statements absolving Najib

(MMO) – Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali today defended his public statements from January 2016 that cleared Datuk Seri Najib Razak of any wrongdoing over SRC International Sdn Bhd and a RM2.6 billion donation as the attorney general then.

Testifying as the 13th defence witness in Najib’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial at the High Court today, Apandi explained that he issued a media statement on January 18, 2016 to satisfy the “public’s curiosity” on the outcome of the ongoing investigations.

“At that material time, the investigations involved the then sitting PM, so the public wanting to know…desiring to know the development and outcome (of the probe).

“Because the investigation was long pending and to satisfy (them), I then issued this press release to show investigation is ongoing… to show development,” he said during examination-in-chief by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Subsequently, Apandi also confirmed he held a press conference on January 26, 2016 in which he announced he was satisfied that no criminal offence has been committed by Najib based on the facts and evidence as can be found in the Investigation Paper (IP)  at the material time.

Apandi was appointed AG on July 27, 2015 replacing Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail whose tenure was terminated due to health reasons. His service was terminated on June 4, 2018 following the change in federal government.

Muhammad Shafee then asked him whether these evidence included the four ‘donation’ letters purportedly signed by Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud addressed to Najib and subsequent statements recorded by MACC in relation to the letters.

Muhammad Shafee: Did you direct for statements to be recorded in relation to these four letters?

Apandi: Yes I did.

Muhammad Shafee: Did you have occasion to see the result in relation to the statements?

Apandi: Yes.

He was then asked whether he had looked into the statements recorded from Eric Tan Kim Loong and Mohamad Abdullah Al-Koman on behalf of ‘Prince Saud’.

Apandi: As I indicated in the press release, I stated that I studied the Investigations Papers (IP). When I say that I meant I read cover to cover, every page of the IP.

Both copies of the press release by Apandi were also tendered in court as evidence.

Continuing with the examination-in-chief, Apandi also told the court he was satisfied at the material time on all relevant witness statements recorded by the MACC.

In the January 26 press conference, Apandi also cleared Najib with regard to abusing his power in the Cabinet meeting which sanctioned the RM4 billion loan to SRC International from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

Apandi also announced that no charges were to be brought against Najib based on the investigations carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Concluding no criminal offence committed by Najib

Apandi also told the court that the RM2.6 billion probe and SRC International probe were both interrelated, which he had throughout the course of pursuing the IP, was satisfied that the PM has indicated whatever funds issued or used were donations.

Apandi: In the SRC case, it touches on what I can recall on the approval of government guarantees on the RM4billion loan towards SRC and that I was satisfied that the loan approval was done properly.

Of course when you look through the IP as a deputy public prosecutor, you are trying to find offences. Based on the facts and evidence as can be found in the IP then at the material time, I was satisfied no criminal offence committed by the then PM.

Muhammad Shafee: Did u address the issue in the SRC case where the PM has no knowledge that the money came from elsewhere?

Apandi: I made the conclusion that he has no knowledge. Whatever money that flows in his account is from the RM2.6 billion donation.

Under cross-examination, Apandi said he could not recall whether the ‘donation’ had all been used up by the time the RM42 million made its way into Najib’s account.

Najib has maintained throughout his trial that multiple transactions amounting to RM3.2 billion from 2011 to 2013 were Saudi royal family donations.

The funds which Najib believed originated from senders identified as Prince Faisal Turki, Blackstone Real Estate Partner and Tanore Finance Corp, were part of donations from then Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Najib is on trial over seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Three are for 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, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.