1MDB: No chance to inform Sultan of financial inexperience, says witness

08 Oct 2019 / 21:26 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former chief executive officer (CEO) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) told the High Court today that he had no opportunity to tell the then Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin that he had no experience in financial matters.

Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49 (pix), said that his appointment as CEO of Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) – later renamed 1MDB – was decided by people above him, namely the TIA board and the stakeholders being the federal and state governments.

The ninth prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 18th day of the former premier’s 1MDB trial.

However, the witness said that he had informed Jho Low that he did not have the experience in fund-raising before he was brought before the Agong in 2009.

Shahrol also denied asking for the top position at TIA despite having no experience.

He added he had not pushed for the job and only knew about the position he would be taking after an audience with Sultan Mizan in March 2009 at Istana Terengganu in Jalan Kia Peng.

Shahrol previously said he had graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University after which he began working at consulting firm Accenture.

He said businessman Low Taek Jho ( Jho Low) had offered him a job at TIA in late 2008 and added that two consultants who were presenting the “developmental aspects” of TIA had been present at the meeting with Sultan Mizan.

“They were looking at ways to increase economic development in Terengganu, which was one of the poorest states in Malaysia, through four sectors: tourism, oil and gas, real estate and agriculture.”

When asked by Shafee whether he thought the funds for the proposed projects were already there, Shahrol said he was unclear at the time how the funds would be raised.

Shafee then asked him about his claim in his witness statement that he was an “ambitious” person.

Shahrol said he was ambitious about working things out.

Shahrol also told the court that TIA had not paid Low for his role as company adviser.

To that, Shafee said: “He did his work pro bono and took billions away.”

Shahrol said TIA might have revoked Low’s appointment as adviser but that this was not done officially through a board resolution.

“We may have overlooked the documents to rescind his appointment,” he added.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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