I had no role in appointing SRC directors, Najib tells court

Former prime minister Najib Razak has been called to answer seven criminal charges in relation to moving RM42 million from SRC International funds into his bank accounts.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak had no role in the appointment of directors to the SRC International board in 2011 as that task was carried out by those from 1MDB, the High Court was told today.

Najib said he was not told and did not approve the appointments of the initial directors — Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Vincent Koh Beng Huat — in January 2011.

SRC was initially a subsidiary of 1MDB, a 100% government-linked company that was under the Finance Ministry Incorporated (MoF Inc).

SRC, which later obtained a RM4 billion loan for local and overseas investments, was moved from 1MDB and parked under MoF Inc in February 2012.

Najib, who is in the witness box after being called to answer the seven criminal charges in relation to moving RM42 million from SRC International funds into his bank accounts, said he was not responsible for the appointments when the SRC board was enlarged in August 2011.

Najib said this in reference to a question by his counsel, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohamed, that he had issued a letter on Aug 1, 2011 to appoint more directors.

The accused said sometime in August, a list of names were suggested and forwarded to him by 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi due to their experience and expertise.

The proposed names were Ismee Ismail as SRC board chairman and Nik Faisal as its CEO.

“I was informed that these two were selected by 1MDB and there was no reason for me to object,” he said.

However, on June 10, Ismee, who was a prosecution witness, had told the court that his appointment as chairman of SRC was made by Najib, who was then prime minister and finance minister.

Najib today said he knew Ismee as the latter was on several boards of government-linked companies, including the Pilgrimage Board while Nik Faisal was part of 1MDB’s senior management.

He said another director, Suboh Yassin, was a former secretary-general of the natural resources and environment ministry but that he did not then know who was Che Abdullah @ Rashdi Che Omar.

Najib is accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

He is also charged with three counts of money laundering and three counts of criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his accounts from the former 1MDB unit.

Hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.