Nik Faisal remained as SRC director to ensure continuity, Najib tells court

Former prime minister Najib Razak says he was not aware money transferred into his accounts was from SRC International.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak told the High Court in his SRC International trial that he removed Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as chief executive officer of the company but kept him on the company’s board of directors to maintain continuity.

He said he had stripped Nik Faisal of his position as CEO following complaints of financial misconduct by former SRC International chairman Ismee Ismail.

Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram was asking Najib about Ismee’s testimony in court that he (Ismee) did not agree with Nik Faisal’s style in managing the company’s financial matters.

Ismee previously testified that he had raised issues on SRC’s governance to Nik Faisal, but Nik Faisal only responded that the issues had been decided by the government, prompting Ismee to resign as company chairman in May 6, 2014.

“I only wanted to maintain him (Nik Faisal) until the money is back,” Najib said, referring to SRC International’s RM3.6 billion funds that were frozen by Swiss authorities in 2013 over money laundering allegations.

He added that the company was tasked to bring back the money in BSI Bank in Lugano, Switzerland.

To that, Sithambaram sarcastically told the former prime minister, “you don’t get a crook to get the money back”.

The lawyer then asked Najib about him keeping Nik Faisal as the authorised person to manage his bank accounts.

“I kept him for a while,” Najib said before Sithambaram pointed out that Nik Faisal remained as the authorised person to manage Najib’s bank accounts until they were closed in 2015.

Najib agreed with Sithambaram.

When questioned by Sithambaran if Najib knew that RM32 million of SRC International funds were transferred into his accounts between December 2014 and February 2015 from two companies (Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd and Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd), the former prime minister said that he did not know that the money came from SRC International.

“No evidence that I know,” he added.

Sithambaram: But you spent every sen of it?

Najib: Yes.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

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.

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 Incorporated or KWAP.