KUALA LUMPUR: A former digital press secretary to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak told the High Court here today that ORB Solutions Sdn Bhd received a cheque worth RM2 million from the former premier on Aug 2013.
Noorhaina Hirawani Mohd Noor, 41, who is the former CEO of ORB Solutions, said the payment was made to her digital service provider company as she managed Najib’s social media accounts in 2013.
Noorhaina Hirawani added that the amount was meant for the company’s day to day operations, salaries and rental purposes.
“ORB Solutions was set up as a digital agency for Datuk Seri Najib and managed his online communications,“ she said this during the examination-in-chief by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on the first day of Najib’s trial in relation to the four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.
Sri Ram: Generally speaking, the payment was made by Najib for your services?
Noorhaina Hirawani: Yes
Earlier, she confirmed a cheque with Najib’s signature which was shown by Sri Ram.
Explaining further, the witness said that the company was set up to serve as a digital agency catering solely to Najib and manage his personal online communications and assets.
“I also ran his digital website and social media presence and other social media channels. The purpose of the activities were for Najib to engage with the public in a less formal manner.
“Given in 2008, the government of the day was cautious of online communication and social media. No one else from official channels were doing this,“ said Noorhaina Hirawani.
She pointed out that, when she was CEO of ORB she ran the day to day operations and planned communications strategies and communicated those strategies to Najib through the PM’s office.
Noorhaina Hirawani said she had worked in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) from Aug 2013 to Oct 2014.
Sri Ram: How much salary was paid for you monthly?
Noorhaina Hirawani: RM24,000 per month.
“I took over from Amhari as the main liaison officer for the PMO and ORB Solutions,“ she said, referring to Najib’s former special officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.
Amhari Efendi was also a director at ORB Solutions.
She also said that she was not subjected to the public servant pay scale despite being employed as a civil servant.
Questioned by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, whether she or Amhari had been prosecuted for money laundering as the recipients of the RM2 million, Noorhaina Hirawani said “no”.
Muhammad Shafee: That (RM2 million) was nothing to the personal benefit of Najib?
Najib, 66, is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.
The Pekan MP is alleged to have committed gratification offences at Jalan Raja Chulan branch of AmIslamic Bank Berhad, at No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014, while for money laundering cases between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.
The trial before Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. — Bernama