KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today was told that Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak agreed to Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA), which was later renamed as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) being taken over by the federal government.
Former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said the matter was conveyed to him by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
The ninth prosecution witness said this when cross-examined by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the defence counsel for Najib on the 20th day of the former premier’s trial involving 1MDB funds.
Earlier, the witness was referred to a letter issued by him to Najib on June 25, 2009 recommending for the federalisation of TIA.
Muhammad Shafee: What was the purpose of this letter?
Shahrol Azral: At that time I was looking at a flurry of letters. That was a very ‘’kelam kabut’’ (chaotic) time as I wanted Jho Low to clarify with me what would be the wishes of the prime minister (Najib).
Eventually before this letter was produced, Jho Low came back to me and said Najib had agreed to the federalisation transformation of TIA to 1MDB.
Muhammad Shafee: Can I ask you, prior to your issuing this letter, do you agree from what I showed you in the cabinet papers and the other documents, there was never a written decision of (the) PM or cabinet about wanting to federalise TIA?
Shahrol Azral: At that time, I did not know anything at all about those cabinet decisions and all that I was informed by Jho Low. My Lord, again, this was very consistent, with how we were only given enough information to do our part of the puzzle.
“For example even cabinet decisions which were relating to TIA never came to us by official channels. By right I think, the normal process is that there will be a post cabinet meeting and if the TIA is there, the CEO of the TIA would be invited to attend the meeting officially, but it never happened,“ he said.
When asked whether Jho Low was invited for the cabinet meeting, the witness said “no”.
Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
Hearing before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues, with senior deputy public prosecutor and former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram leading the prosecution. — Bernama