KUALA LUMPUR: There was no declaration of conflict of interest by Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak when he chaired a Cabinet meeting related to SRC International Sdn Bhd in February 2012, according to the 40th prosecution witness in the former premier’s trial today.
Cabinet former deputy secretary-general (Constitution and Communication) Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid based her testimony on the minutes of a Cabinet meeting to discuss a memorandum on the government’s guarantee of up to RM2 billion for a loan applied by SRC International.
She also said none of the ministers requested the prime minister to leave during or prior to the discussion on the memorandum.
Mazidah said the cabinet meeting (minutes) was dated Feb 8, 2012.
Najib was then Adviser Emeritus of SRC.
She recalled that Najib did leave the meeting on Nov 23, 2012 when the cabinet proceeded to discuss a memorandum regarding CIMB Bank Berhad.
At the time, the accused’s brother Datuk Seri Nazir was CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman.
The witness said it was the practice of ministers to declare conflict of interest and leave the meeting if they had some involvement in any matter discussed by the cabinet.
“This would be recorded in the minutes. The time when the minister rejoins the meeting is also recorded in the minutes,“ Mazidah said, reading out her witness statement on the 27th day of the trial.
To a question from deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan whether the practice by cabinet members to declare conflict of interest was provided for in the Code of Ethics for Members of Administration and Members of Parliament, she replied, “ yes”.
“In 1997 or 1998 the Cabinet approved the Code of Ethics for administration members and in the code of ethics it is requested that when you have conflict of interest in the matter that was being discussed, you have to leave the meeting and it must be recorded in the minutes of meeting,“ Mazidah added.
“As an example, at the Cabinet meeting on April 26, 2017, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, left the meeting when a memorandum from the prime minister was tabled,“ she said.
At the Cabinet meeting on Dec 14, 2016, she said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein also went out when a memorandum from the Prime Minister was tabled.
According to her, based on the Cabinet division’s records, Najib had also left Cabinet meetings.
He had done so at the Cabinet meeting on Nov 23, 2012 when it discussed a memorandum involving CIMB Bank Berhad, she said.
The hearing continues tomorrow before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. — Bernama