KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, testifying in his defence in the trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd (SRC) funds, told the High Court here today that he did not know that the company planned to borrow RM3.95 billion from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan Diperbadankan (KWAP).
Najib, who was also the finance minister and Advisor Emeritus of SRC then, said that he was not aware of the matter and was not informed that a letter dated June 3, 2011 from SRC to get approval on the loan would be sent to him.
Testifying under oath from the witness stand to answer to seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million of SRC funds, the accused said he had met then CEO of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi or CEO of SRC Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (then) or both of them between Jan 7, 2011 and the date of the loan application.
“The letter informed about the initiative that led to the loan application proposed by SRC.
“Probably I was informed about it before I received the letter. I cannot remember clearly what initiated the proposal, but it must have been substantive enough, especially when I gave my support to SRC.
“This was based on SRC’s vision as expected by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department,” he said when questioned by his lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed.
Asked by Wan Aizuddin why the letter seeking approval of the loan was addressed to him and not to KWAP, Najib replied that it could be because it was stated in the letter that SRC would operate under the advice of the prime minister.
Najib added that the letter possibly could have been sent to his office and received by his principal private secretary, Datuk Azlin Alias, but no discussions were held about it.
In his witness statement, Najib had also told the court that he had no knowledge about a board resolution by 1MDB that proposed a transfer of funds to Falcon Private Bank Ltd and Julius Baer Bank for investment in Southeast Asia and RM1.5 billion for a joint venture (JV) between Aabar Investment PJS Ltd and SRC.
“The Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) as the shareholder of 1MDB would only have approved the resolution if it involved a huge sum in accordance to the Companies Act 1965 ... however, I only came to know about it when it was settled,” he said.
The Pekan MP also stated that he did not know an individual by the name of Zahid Taib from 1MDB who had arranged a meeting between him and former Treasury deputy secretary-general (Policy) Datuk Mat Noor Nawi at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang.
The meeting was in connection with a draft memorandum on the takeover of SRC by MoF Inc wherein the court had earlier been told that Najib signed the document on the bonnet of a car.
“I assumed he was asked to meet me there by Datuk Azlin or Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (EPU) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop,” Najib said.
Asked by his lawyer about transfer of SRC shares to 1MDB, Najib said: “I was also not aware that SRC shares were only transferred to 1MDB at the end of 2011 because it was not consistent with what was shown to me.”
On Nov 11, the court had ordered Najib, 66, to enter his defence on three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT), three charges of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to SRC funds totalling RM42 million after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.
The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow. - Bernama