Finance minister responsible for MoF Inc, Najib trial told

Former Treasury deputy secretary-general Mat Noor Nawi.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court in Najib Razak’s SRC International trial heard today that the finance minister is responsible for Finance Ministry Incorporated (MoF Inc).

Mat Noor Nawi, a former deputy secretary-general at the Treasury, said this was clearly spelt out in section 3 (1) of the Finance Minister (Incorporation) Act 1957.

Mat Noor made the clarification when he was re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim as to whether the finance minister was also responsible for MoF Inc.

Defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh, who earlier cross-examined Mat Noor, had suggested to the witness that the finance minister was not solely responsible for Mof Inc.

Mat Noor said based on a federal gazette, the finance minister could order the treasury secretary-general, his deputies, secretaries and deputy secretaries in the MoF Inc division to implement any instruction.

“Only these four can implement any instruction of the finance minister in relation to MoF Inc,” he said.

Najib was made finance minister in 2008 and became prime minister the following year but held both positions until his Barisan Nasional government was defeated in the general election last year.

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 subsidiary of 1MDB, which was later placed under MoF Inc.

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.

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.

Mat Noor, 64, said he was appointed SRC adviser by Najib, but that he was now unable to locate the appointment letter.

“After retirement, I was made chairman of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd and could have misplaced the letter,” he said.

Mat Noor said he attempted to find the one-page letter at his office and home but to no avail.

He said he was not sure of his exact role in SRC but believed it was to “merely advise” the company’s then CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

“In fact, I had called Nik Faisal two times to brief me on SRC’s planned business activities,” he added.

The hearing continues before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.