I didn’t take Najib’s SRC loan proposal consent as an order, says ex-KWAP CEO

Azian Mohd Noh.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former pensioners’ retirement fund (KWAP) chief executive officer Azian Mohd Noh told the High Court today she did not consider as instruction a letter forwarded by Najib Razak, with a note saying he agreed to the proposal by SRC International for a loan.

Azian, however, said she could not know the state of mind of other members of KWAP’s investment panel who approved the loan.

“I did not think the letter minuted to me was an instruction for KWAP to approve a loan to SRC,” she said when cross-examined by Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh.

Azian, the 38th witness in the trial of Najib, said she could not, however, speak for the investment panel members.

She was referring to a two-page proposal submitted by SRC director and CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to Najib on June 3, 2011, that KWAP provide a RM3.95 billion loan for overseas investment in the minerals industry.

SRC was a wholly-owned subsidiary of 1MDB, which was under Finance Ministry Incorporated.

Najib, who was then prime minister and finance minister, had minuted and forwarded a copy of Nik Faisal’s letter to Azian, stating that he agreed with the proposal.

Azian said Najib’s special officer, the late Azlin Alias, handed over the letter to her when they met at a Kuala Lumpur hotel lobby in 2011.

Najib faces six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.

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

The Pekan MP is charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd on Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.

Former KWAP vice-president Amirul Imran Ahmat had testified that although SRC had applied for RM3.95 billion, the fund finally gave a loan of RM4 billion.

Under the KWAP Act, the finance minister appoints investment panel members who have the power to provide loans, including to the private sector, after strict scrutiny.

The investment panel was chaired by the then Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah with Che Zakiah Che Din and Nozirah Bahari representing Bank Negara and the finance ministry respectively.

Abdul Wahid Omar, Mohammed Azlan Hashim and Cheah Tek Kuang, reputed to be experts in business and finance, also sat on the panel.

KWAP’s CEO, in this case Azian, acts as secretary of the panel but has no voting right to approve or reject loan applications.

Azian yesterday told the court the six panel members, by way of circular resolutions, approved RM2 billion in August 2011 and another RM2 billion in March the following year after the federal government stood guarantee for the loans.

The hearing before trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was adjourned to June 10.