Witness denies SRC mooted ownership change

14 Jun 2019 / 18:59 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The 39th witness in Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s trial today denied that the proposal to change ownership of SRC International Sdn Bhd from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to Minister of Finance (Incorporated) (MKD) was mooted by the company itself.

SRC Board of Directors (BoD) former chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 54, when cross-examined by Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh said the ownership change was approved in February 2012 on the former prime minister’s instructions in his capacity as finance minister.

Earlier, counsel referred the witness to minutes of a meeting that the BoD held in February 2012.

The lawyer also suggested that then SRC CEO and managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil had told the (BoD) regarding instructions to change the ownership of the company.

Ismee, who was also a former board member of SRC, agreed with the suggestion and admitted that apart from what was disclosed in the minutes of the meeting, he was not told how the issue of changing ownership arose.

Harvinderjit also referred the witness to a letter which stated that on Jan 17, 2012, a meeting was held between SRC and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who also led the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

Lawyer: This letter also mentioned that SRC had instructed the change of ownership?

Witness: I don’t agree.

Ismee however agreed that Najib was never a signatory of the SRC’s bank accounts and thus could not have been directly involved in disbursing RM1.8 billion for overseas investment.

Lawyer: The prime minister as emeritus adviser (to SRC International) was never a signatory of any account of SRC International?

Witness: Yes.

Harvinderjit informed the court that the defence would decide later whether to challenge the alleged contradiction in Ismee’s testimony and his witness statement.

“We have looked at the transcripts over the past four days (of trial). We will make a decision in due course,“ the lawyer said.

Yesterday, Najib’s trial was cut short for half day as the defence team wanted to scrutinise the court recording transcription (CRT) after Ismee testified that the BoD followed the resolutions of the company’s shareholders, yet in his written witness statement he said the board followed the advice of Najib, as he was the Advisor Emeritus of SRC.

Before ending today’s proceedings, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali asked Harvinderjit whether the defence still had many questions to ask Ismee, noting that the latter had been on the witness stand since Tuesday.

The judge also reminded Ismee not to discuss the case with the public as he had yet to be released as witness.

“Don’t worry, my wife is not asking,“ Ismee said, which drew laughter from the gallery.

Najib, 66, faces three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

The hearing continues on Monday. - Bernama

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