Lawyer in Najib’s SRC trial says ex-firm received RM2.5 million

KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer told the High Court in Najib Razak’s SRC International trial today that his former law firm received a sum of RM2.5 million from his client, businessman Habibur Rahman Kadir Shah.

Ashraf Abdul Razak, formerly a partner at Zulqarnian & Co, said the RM2.5 million was paid to Habibur for his consultancy service from a defence contract given to the businessman.

“I knew his company, Fuel Subs House, was seeking the tender to manage a fuel subsidy contract.

“He told me to accept the money which was the fees he received from his defence contract,” he said when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi about the source of the RM2.5 million.

However, Ashraf made no mention of Najib or his bank account in his testimony.

The lawyer said Habibur, whom he considers a close friend, called him to his house to collect the cheque for RM2.5 million which was deposited into the account of his then-law firm.

“He then instructed me to make payments, in the form of cheques, to his wife and children as well as other individuals that he decided on,” Ashraf said.

When asked by Saifuddin why Habibur had picked the bank account of the law firm instead of his own, Ashraf said he didn’t know.

“I have known him for over 20 years, and he is a corporate figure. It didn’t cross my mind to ask him,” he said.

When questioned by Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, about Habibur’s background as a political analyst, Ashraf agreed that his client was well versed in politics.

He said he did not doubt Habibur regarding the payments he had been asked to make as the businessman was a well-known corporate leader.

Meanwhile, witness Rosaiah Mohamed Rosli who works as a processing officer at Affin Bank testified that on Dec 24, 2014, RM40 million was deposited into the account of Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd.

She said in her witness statement that the money came from Gandingan Mentari.

She said RM5 million was also credited into Ihsan Perdana’s account from Gandingan Mentari on Feb 5, 2015.

When asked by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh whether there had been transactions to pay out funds from Ihsan Perdana to other accounts, the bank officer said yes.

She said on Dec 29, 2014, RM8 million was paid out from Ihsan Perdana’s account.

Harvinderjit then told the court that the defence wished to make an application to ask Rosaiah to provide details on other transactions related to Ihsan Perdana’s account.

However, fiat prosecutor V Sithambaran objected, saying the request has no relation to Najib’s charges.

High Court judge Nazlan Ghazali only allowed the defence to obtain the bank details related to Najib’s charges, to which Harvinderjit said he hoped Rosaiah could return to the court later and provide details on the RM8 million payment from Ihsan Perdana.

The hearing continues.

Najib faces six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.