KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was today told that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was recruited into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in 2011 from UBG (Utama Banking Group), a company owned by fugitive businessman Jho Low or Low Taek Jho (pix).
Former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said Nik Faisal was appointed as chief investment officer (CIO) in the sovereign wealth fund and the appointment was sanctioned by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
“Actually, I had earlier asked (1MDB executive director) Casey Tang whether he was willing to take the CIO post ... before asking Jho Low if he had other recommendations. He suggested Nik Faisal, that was how Nik Faisal’s name came up,“ he said when cross-examined by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 34th day trial of the former premier’s 1MBD case.
Nik Faisal is the former CEO of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
When asked if he could produce Nik Faisal’s appointment letter, Shahrol Azral, 49, said he would try to get the letter from the investigating officer in the case.
For the record, Casey Tang and Shahrol Azral were brought into 1MDB by Jho Low.
On the appointment of 1MDB general counsel, Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, Shahrol Azral said he was the one who asked Jho Low if Jasmine could be brought in.
“Jasmine was from Jho Low’s UBG as well. At first Jho Low was reluctant, but later said he would agree to release Jasmine, if she said yes. I remembered having lunch with Jasmine and talk to her about the job opportunity (at 1MDB).
“Regarding Datuk Ong Gim Huat’s appointment as non-executive director, he too was brought in by Jho Low. We were in the process of expanding and trying to achieve Najib’s 1Malaysia aspiration. Jho Low said he had talked to Datuk Seri Najib about it,“ he added.
To a question by Muhammad Shafee, Shahrol Azral described Ong as an independent and clean businessman.
Muhammad Shafee then referred Shahrol Azral to a minute of meeting of the 1MDB board minutes where Ong informed the board about the Public Account Committee’s (PAC) request for the 1MDB quarterly risk report.
Shahrol Azral said he was reluctant to provide the document to PAC initially as the PAC members also comprised the opposition for fear that they would take the report out of context and spin it.
However, he said, he later gave the report to PAC which subsequently led to the opposition holding a press conference on the matter.
Najib, 66, is facing 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.
The hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Wednesday.