KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak denied in the SRC International trial today that he had appointed five men as company directors because they had never gone against his instructions.
He said the names of the five men – then SRC International Sdn Bhd chairman Ismee Ismail and then directors Suboh Md Yassin, Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil – had been suggested to him.
“I saw that they had experience in the relevant fields. For example, I knew Ismee professionally as the Tabung Haji CEO, Suboh was the secretary-general in the natural resources ministry. I also heard that Che Abdullah had experience under TH Plantations,” he said when questioned by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas as to whether the five men were chosen because they had never “disobeyed” him.
He said Shahrol was appointed as he was from 1MDB, then SRC International’s parent company. However, he said he did not know Nik Faisal, except that Nik Faisal was an accounts graduate.
Thomas then asked the former prime minister about his handwritten note on a letter from SRC International to Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) requesting a RM3.95 billion loan.
Najib said he had written the note on the letter, saying “bersetuju dengan cadangan” (agree with SRC International’s application for loan), but it did not mean that it was an instruction to the KWAP investment panel to approve it.
“Maybe they were looking for a shortcut so that their application could be considered by KWAP and so they handed their letter to me,” he said.
He also said he disagreed with former KWAP officer Amirul Imran Ahmat’s testimony earlier that the investment panel had been compelled to give a RM2 billion loan to SRC International as Najib had given his approval.
“Under the law, the decision on approving loans comes under the panel. The finance minister cannot approve the loan.
“You just refer me to the law on KWAP. You are the AG, use the correct provision of the law,” he said, in answering Thomas’ question as to whether his handwritten note was seen as an instruction to KWAP.
Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.
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 hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.