Najib pressured treasury officials to prepare guarantee for SRC loan, says witness

Former senior finance ministry officer Maliami Ahmad says he knew the directive came from Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former senior finance ministry officer said Najib Razak had put pressure through intermediaries to prepare a Cabinet paper on a government guarantee for SRC International Sdn Bhd, which intended to borrow RM2 billion.

Maliami Ahmad told the High Court the paper had been scheduled to be presented to the Cabinet on Aug 17, 2011 and time was running out.

“The directive to prepare the paper not only came from SRC but also from then treasury secretary-general (Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah), which I know is actually from Najib,” he said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim.

Maliami, the 43rd prosecution witness, said he also received a directive from Najib’s then private secretary, the late Azlin Alias.

“I believe Azlin’s directive was also coming from Najib,” he said, adding that the directives came orally to ensure the paper was ready for Cabinet approval the same week.

Maliami said all instructions he received were passed to his subordinates.

“I also ordered Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz (a deputy secretary in the finance ministry’s Strategic Investment Division) to ensure the paper was ready for the consideration of Nor Mohamed Yakcop (minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) so that the document could be handed over to the Cabinet division on the same day (Aug 15, 2001),” he said.

Maliami was testifiyng in the trial of Najib, who is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

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 (Incorporated) or KWAP.

The Pekan MP was 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.

Afidah had earlier testified that the government guarantee for KWAP to approve a RM2 billion loan to SRC International in 2011 was given within 48 hours.

Afidah said this was unusual as an applicant was required to submit detailed information for the Cabinet’s consideration.

“In order to rush, I had to merely rely on the information from SRC representatives,” she said when examined by Suhaimi.

Afidah said she prepared a memorandum on the same day for the Cabinet division so that it could be circulated to ministers before their meeting.

She said SRC’s application was tabled and approved by the Cabinet on Aug 17, 2011.

A guarantee letter dated Aug 26, 2011 was signed by former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

SRC also obtained another RM2 billion from KWAP in 2012 and the government again provided a guarantee.

Maliami told the court Afidah had asked him why the government was rushing through the process of preparing the guarantee for SRC.

“I informed her that it was Wan Abdul Aziz’s order that the matter be expedited as SRC had got the special attention of Najib and the company was in dire need to get the funds,” he added.

The hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.