Despite overwhelming global evidence, Najib Razak and his circle of appointees have persisted in amazing everyone with their adamant protests of innocence over 1MDB.
Their excuses have confusingly altered over the period, depending on the evidence that had emerged, but Najib’s latest line of defence over the millions of ringgit siphoned out of the 1MDB subsidiary SRC, which first passed through various Jho Low controlled local companies and then went into his bank account under the guise of ‘CSR payments’ (to be spent on funding personal credit card payments on family holidays and buying diamonds for his wife), is that he thought the money was donated from a friendly Saudi royal.
There is no evidence that a Saudi royal ever paid anything to Najib or 1MDB (apart from some $20 million in kickbacks that were passed back from 1MDB via the now imprisoned PetroSaudi boss Prince Turki bin Abdullah to Najib on one occasion). There was also a massive earlier payment of some $80 million from the Saudi Ministry of Finance. However, the lion’s share of Najib’s dodgy billions have been traced comprehensively by the DOJ and they came from 1MDB.
Nonetheless, Najib has claimed he didn’t know that is where the money came from, so he isn’t guilty. Sometimes he appears to imply that his agent, Jho Low was to blame and fooled him about the mythical Saudi donor. However his main ire is kept for his political enemies and the prosecutors trying to bring him to book and reclaim the missing billions for Malaysia.
Najib has said he is not ashamed, either for his criminality or alternatively his bone headed stupidity and arrogance to think he was capable of managing an economy. Instead, he has strutted around the country playing the martyr, crooning karaoki songs about his alleged innocence and stirring up as much friction between communities as money can buy, in order to give himself what he hopes is a chance of a political come back.
Above all, his people are apparently bragging behind the scenes that Najib has ‘enough good will’ amongst the judiciary appointed under him to delay his trial until the next election, by which time he hopes that the economic consequences of his mismanagement of 1MDB and hidden debts will make the present government unpopular enough for him to overthrow.
Sarawak Report suggests that such boasts are the fantasy of a pampered elite, who have so long got used to having everything their way that they cannot imagine that somehow cash or connections will not solve this problem for them also.
The present administration has leant over backwards to be both fair and be seen to be fair to this former prime minister and his fugative associates. However, Najib is now abusing that latitude and abusing his freedom to boot.
If, as he says, he believes he is innocent and can prove as much, then instead of running away from trial and the public scrutiny of the evidence, he should be eager to bring his case to court. Instead, we saw first the slick appointment of an initial judge – Najib’s own relative – who put off this trial for almost a year. Next every kind of legal manoeuvre has followed to achieve yet more delay.
Today, as his trial was postponed following yet another tenuous technicality, the joy and relief was written all over Najib’s face. Yet an innocent man would surely have been troubled at the delayed chance to prove his case?
If Najib really wants the chance to prove his innocence then he should stop running away from entering the dock and face the rock solid evidence the prosecution holds against him.