Najib slapped with 6 CBT charges: legal team eager for battle

Former Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak is escorted by police to the courthouse in Kuala Lumpur on October 25, 2018.

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah are charged with criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving billions of ringgit.

And yet, their lawyers are "quite delighted" after seeing the charges and are eager to do battle in court.

The Sessions Court here was told that Najib and Dr Mohd Irwan did not pocket a sen from the RM6.636billion (S$2.2 billion) at the heart of the six CBT charges.

Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the money was used "purely to meet national obligations".

The prominent lawyer said he was told that the funds involved in the first two charges were allocated for land acquisition in respect of two different projects.

Muhammad Shafee made this assertion before judge Azman Ahmad when mitigating for lower bail for his client here yesterday.

"The allegations in both these charges are in relation to the reallocation of these funds on a matter or re-prioritisation of the manner of the funding.

"My client believes that these two charges are wholly unfounded because the decision undertaken by him and Mohd Irwan was for the good of the nation to prevent a trigger of default, which would have been disastrous to the economy of Malaysia," he said.

Muhammad Shafee added that the third to sixth charges were "more interesting" as they were related to payments due to the Abu Dhabi-based International Petro­leum Investment Company (Ipic).

"Again, these were funds that were initially allocated for a purpose but on a priority, being revised in the face of urgency and dire straits.

"It was placed for the purposes of settlement for the Ipic issue. All this was done in the sole interest of the nation.

"Not a sen was benefited by my client or anyone else. All (funds mentioned in) the six charges were purely to meet the obligation of the investment arm of the nation, 1Ma­­laysia Development Bhd and so on," he said, adding that there was no dishonest intention.

Muhammad Shafee stressed that no money was made by Najib and therefore, no allegations of that na­­ture could be brought against him.

He said the team of lawyers for Najib and Dr Mohd Irwan were quite delighted after reading the charges.

"We are looking forward to defend. My client feels that these charges are atrocious and absurd and he is looking forward to good trial," Muhammad Shafee said.

When speaking to the media outside the courts, he said: "We'll have fun and the prosecution will have nightmares.

"The charges are foolish because they call into question the executive decision-making process of the finance minister and the (Treasury) secretary-general."

After posting bail, Najib told reporters that his conscience was clear, saying the decisions made were in the interest of the nation.

"When you receive certain mo­­ney, you have to pay it back. Otherwise, you would be in default and that could lead to a lapse in the bond market, which is very serious.

"The charges against me are too general and do not make sense. Nothing in the charge sheet states that what I did has brought about any self-benefit," Najib said.

He urged the public not to assume that the money had just vanished.

"Whatever we did, we can prove in court that it was done with the interest of the country in mind, God willing," he said.

Najib left the court complex at 2.40pm with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who was not seen in the courtroom earlier.

A group of supporters gathered around him for a short prayer before he left.

Photo: The Star/Asia News Network