Ex-SRC chairman tells court why he resigned from company

Ismee Ismail.

KUALA LUMPUR: The former chairman of the SRC International Sdn Bhd board of directors resigned from the company as he did not agree with the management style of its managing director, the High Court heard in the corruption and abuse of power trial of Najib Razak today.

Ismee Ismail, the 39th witness, said his resignation was largely due to Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil’s handling of accounts and SRC finances.

“Most of the action in relation to SRC was done by Nik Faisal in his capacity as managing director and chief operating officer of the company,” Ismee said, reading from a witness statement.

He said he tendered his resignation on May 6, 2014 but it only took effect on Aug 15 that year.

During this period, Ismee said he was not active in the management of SRC.

Ismee said he was appointed as director of SRC on Jan 7, 2011 as the company was under 1MDB.

He was appointed as non-executive director of 1MDB in 2009 as the company was under the Finance Ministry Incorporated.

Ismee said his appointment as chairman of SRC was made by Najib who was then prime minister and finance minister.

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

Ismee, who is now self-employed, said the SRC board must obtain Najib’s advice before making a decision as he is the adviser emeritus.

“Nik Faisal is the link man between the board and Najib. Any discussion or decision in relation to SRC must be brought to the attention of the prime minister,” he said

Ismee said he had also raised the issue of SRC governance in the daily activities of the company.

“Nik Faisal’s standard reply was that it was discussed and agreed on by the ‘government’. In my opinion, the government referred to by Nik Faisal was Najib,” he said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff.

Ismee said he was also aware that it was Najib who had appointed him as SRC director and that the then-prime minister therefore had the power to remove him as well.

“I am fully aware and know that Najib has the absolute power to hire and fire any SRC directors,” he said.

The hearing continues before justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.