SRC got RM4 bil loan but has nothing to show for it, Najib trial told

Former Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court in Najib Razak’s corruption and abuse of power trial heard today that there is no visible outcome from SRC International Sdn Bhd’s venture in the natural resources sector, although a RM4 billion loan was given to the company.

Former Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, who was involved in approving the loan, also said he did not know what happened to the money.

His response came when deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim re-examined the witness after cross examination by defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

The witness had earlier agreed with the lawyer that past prime ministers by-passed normal procedures to fast track projects of national importance such as the North-South highway (PLUS) and the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA).

Suhaimi: Did you know what happened to the money (RM4 billion) for the SRC project?

Wan Abdul Aziz: I don’t know.

Suhaimi: Did you see the outcome of the PLUS and LIMA projects?

Wan Abdul Aziz: Yes.

The 45th witness, who was Treasury secretary-general from 2008 to 2012, was also chairman of the investment panel of pensioner’s fund KWAP which provided the loan following a government guarantee.

The loan was given in 2011 and 2012 on condition that SRC ventured into the natural resources sector, particularly in coal and uranium industries.

Najib 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 KWAP.

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

Under cross-examination by Shafee, Wan Abdul Aziz said the setting up of SRC in 2011 to serve the national interest, similar to Petronas, was indeed honourable.

“That would have propelled the economy of Malaysia,” he said, adding that the then prime minister Najib was also convinced that SRC needed government assistance.

He also agreed with Shafee that prime ministers before Najib had their own style of implementing projects of national importance.

“In certain cases, the government must be pro-active to implement projects but the paper work would come later,” he said.

Wan Abdul Aziz said he was also aware that the PLUS and LIMA projects had been fast tracked and that the normal government procedures were ignored. He was then in the treasury in different capacities.

Shafee told the court that a 103-room hotel was built in Langkawi even before the land acquisition was completed in preparation of LIMA some years ago. He also said the highway project (1988-1994) was carried out even before documentation was completed.

Yesterday, the witness told the court Najib had called him to request that the pensioners’ fund release a RM2 billion loan in 2012 to SRC before a government guarantee was formalised.

Wan Abdul Aziz had said this was an exceptional practice as a loan was only paid out after the guarantee letter was executed.

Today, the witness said at that time he did not consider it a risk for KWAP to release the money even though some paper work was incomplete.

“I would not have compromised if the interest of the government was at stake,” he said, adding that Najib had an honourable intention when he requested the loan be released expeditiously to SRC.

The hearing continues before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.