‘Secret trip’ to China an attempt to bail out 1MDB, SRC, says Najib’s ex-aide

Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, former special aide to Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak’s former aide insisted today that the former prime minister sent him on a “secret mission” to China in an attempt to get Chinese investors to bail out 1MDB and its subsidiary company, SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who worked as Najib’s special officer, said he was tasked with “rescuing both companies in a rather abnormal way”.

“Datuk Seri (Najib) personally gave me instructions at his Langgak Duta home.

“Maybe he trusted me,” he said, adding fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho also gave him notes and talking points informing him about the purpose of his Chinese trip in June 2016.

Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had questioned how Amhari came to the conclusion that he was tasked with bailing out 1MDB and SRC International.

Shafee: You stressed you were on a “007 special mission”. What made you think this Chinese trip was a bailout?

Amhari: The talking points (given to me) talked about key profitable multibillion projects and how they could also resolve SRC and 1MDB debts.

Amhari also said that Low attended the meeting with Chinese government officials and company directors, adding that the Chinese seemed comfortable being around the Penang businessman.

Amhari also said he was not sure if anyone, including Low, had made suggestions to inflate the prices of the projects, namely East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Multi Product Pipe (MPP) and Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP).

He said he only went for one meeting where the people spoke in Mandarin. He said he did not know if the suggestion on inflating the prices was brought up at later meetings.

He added Najib did not give instructions to make the projects overpriced.

When asked by fiat prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram on whether the Malaysian embassy in Beijing was informed that he had gone to China, Amhari said the embassy was not aware because the trip was a private one.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah. Former 1MDB chief executive officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi will take the witness stand later.

Najib was slapped with 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited in his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.