Shafee grills witness over contradictory signature claims

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 3, 2019.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah grilled SRC International Bhd director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin yesterday after the latter walked back his testimony that mismatched signatures on scanned and physical copies of bank documents were his.

The senior lawyer pressed the prosecution witness on whether the signatures were forged by the ex-managing director of SRC, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, while going through instruction letters to the bank that allegedly contained the fakes, prompting the witness to say that he could not possibly remember each and every document that he had previously signed.

“I can’t remember each and every document I signed,” said Suboh.

“Are you saying you don’t remember signing this particular document or all of the documents that we showed you?” asked the lawyer.

“I don’t remember signing this one,” said the witness, referring to the letter dated April 9, 2015 for a RM3 million transfer to Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, which was displayed by the projector in court.

The defence proceeded to go through the other allegedly forged documents before Suboh agreed that they could have been forged, contradicting his earlier statement during questioning by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusof on Monday.

Muhammad Shafee then asked the witness to explain to the court his statement during examination-in-chief, when Suboh said he had personally signed all the letters that were referred to.

“Who asked you to admit that these were your signatures? Datuk, be careful with your answer because I have a very reliable source of information.

“Who put you up to this? Why didn’t you admit it?” pressed Muhammad Shafee.

“I was never put under such a situation,” responded Suboh.

“Are you sure? Did you not, at one time after the election, tell the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) that ‘these were not my signatures’?” asked the lawyer.

Suboh said he cannot remember making such a statement to the MACC, which prompted the defence to apply to show the witness a copy of the statement recorded in 2018.

High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the application and then granted a break to allow the prosecution to obtain the statement from the MACC office nearby.