Najib denies appointing Apandi Ali to Tabung Haji board as reward

Former prime minister Najib Razak says there was nothing sinister in Apandi Ali’s appointment.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak dismissed a suggestion by the prosecution that former attorney-general Apandi Ali was appointed a Tabung Haji (TH) board member as a reward for clearing him of any criminal wrongdoing in the SRC and 1MDB cases.

Ad-hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram today noted that Najib had appointed Apandi the attorney-general (AG) on July 27, 2015, after removing his predecessor Abdul Gani Patail from office.

Sithambaram said on Jan 26, 2016, it was announced that Apandi had been appointed a board member of Tabung Haji (TH).

He said on the same day, Apandi had issued a press statement clearing Najib of allegations that he had abused his position during a Cabinet meeting to approve government guarantees on loans provided by Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

Sithambaram further said Najib was then in a conflict of interest situation.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that you had, despite the statement by the AG then, abused your position as finance minister and prime minister by taking part in the decision to provide the two government guarantees.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that there is overwhelming evidence of abuse of power and criminal breach of trust, that makes you liable for money laundering offences.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram: I put it to you that the evidence shows that the decision of the then AG was clearly wrong.

Najib: I disagree.

Sithambaram said the TH Act 1955 did not provide for the compulsory appointment of the AG to the board and it was done in bad faith.

He suggested Apandi’s appointment was a reward for absolving Najib of any criminal wrongdoing.

Najib agreed with Sithambaram’s observation on the legal position but insisted there was nothing sinister in the appointment.

“To the best of your knowledge, are you calling Apandi as a witness?” asked Sithambaram.

“We are considering the matter,” said Najib.

In August 2018, Najib, who lost power after the 14th general election, was charged with corruption in relation to the SRC and 1MDB cases.

Najib is now 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 (KWAP).

Hearing before trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was adjourned to Feb 3.