Ex-minister was at PMO the day he was supposed to have met Saudi king, court told

Former minister Jamil Khir Baharom had told the High Court he was in a Malaysian delegation at an unofficial meeting witn King Abdullah in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jan 11, 2010.

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officer claimed that former minister Jamil Khir Baharom was attending a gathering at the Prime Minister’s Department the day he was said to be meeting the late Saudi King Abdullah with Malaysian delegates.

MACC investigating officer Mohd Nasharudin Amir told the High Court in Najib Razak’s SRC International trial that he sought the help of his colleague, Nur Aida Ariffin, to obtain information about Jamil’s whereabouts between Jan 11 and 16, 2010.

Aida is the investigating officer in the 1MDB case.

“We obtained a news bulletin for February 2010 from Jakim. In the newsletter, he was reported to be at a gathering with PMO’s agencies on Jan 11, 2010 at Putrajaya,” Nasharudin said when asked by ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram on the whereabouts of Najib and Jamil that day.

However, he added that MACC could not obtain information on Najib’s whereabouts that day.

Jamil had testified previously that the Malaysian delegates had an unofficial meeting with King Abdullah on Jan 11, 2010 at the palace in Riyadh, where they discussed the haj quota, the Arab Spring uprisings, and financial assistance from Saudi Arabia.

Besides Najib and himself, those at the meeting were former foreign minister Anifah Aman and former Malaysian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Syed Omar Al-Saggaf.

To questions from Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, on a statement recorded from Tan Kim Loong, Nasharudin said Tan’s statement was taken by his colleague, Mohd Hafaz Nazar, during the MACC officers’ trip to Riyadh on Nov 27, 2015.

Nasharudin had said last week that Tan was present when the MACC officers met with a Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the latter’s Riyadh home to investigate a RM2.6 billion “donation”.

Nasharudin said there had been no instructions from his superiors to record Saud’s statement again, despite him saying he was dissatisfied with the contents.

When Shafee proceeded to ask whether Tan was the registered owner of Tanore Finance Corporation, Sithambaram objected and said the defence could not go into Tan’s witness statement.

Shafee said the defence intended to produce Tan’s witness statement in court and asked Nasharudin to bring it tomorrow.

Nasharudin also said he could not locate Tan during his time as 1MDB investigating officer from May 2015 to May 2018.

Tan is fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s associate and is wanted by authorities in connection with the 1MDB case.

Investigating officer Rosli Husain had previously told the court that MACC sought Interpol’s help to track down Tan and other associates of Low, including former 1MDB general counsel Loo Ai Swan and former 1MDB executive directors Tang Keng Chee and Geh Choh Heng.

The hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow, when MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya and lawyer Selva Mookiah will be called to testify.