SRC’s CEO unaware company funds ended up in Najib’s accounts, court told

The witness statement of former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was tendered by Najib Razak’s lawyer in court.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil told the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) he did not know that the company’s funds had ended up in former prime minister Najib Razak’s bank accounts.

In his witness statement, dated Oct 17, 2015, to the MACC, Nik Faisal said SRC International transferred a sum of RM250 million into its corporate social responsibility (CSR) partner company Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd but he claimed SRC International had no knowledge that part of the funds went to Najib’s bank accounts.

The witness statement was tendered by Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as part of the proceedings in the trial of Najib involving SRC International funds.

Nik Faisal said in the statement that the RM250 million was for Ihsan Perdana to conduct CSR activities.

“The company (SRC International) did not know the funds were spent by the prime minister for political or personal purposes until the MACC launched its investigation.

“The company never instructed Ihsan Perdana to transfer part of the money to the prime minister’s accounts,” Nik Faisal told MACC officer Regjet Singh when the latter recorded his statement at the Manhattan Hotel in Jakarta.

Nik Faisal added that Ihsan Perdana’s managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman would be in a better position to answer queries over the transfer of funds.

Shamsul had testified during the prosecution’s case that Najib was “shocked” and “upset” when he (Najib) found out that someone had transferred funds into his accounts.

Nik Faisal also said he did not know if the closure of Najib’s three Ambank accounts in 2015 was related to investigations by the MACC, police and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

“Although I was the mandate holder for his accounts, I have no powers to order the bank to close the accounts.

“If it wasn’t for the Wall Street Journal articles, I would not have known that the funds that went into his (Najib) accounts were related to SRC International,” Nik Faisal said, adding that Ambank officers such as Joanna Yu and Daniel Lee could provide an explanation regarding the funds.

He told the MACC there was no denial a large sum of money was deposited into Najib’s accounts but he could not recall if BNM had questioned him on the transactions.

To a question as to why he had been chosen to manage Najib’s accounts, Nik Faisal said Najib’s late principal private secretary Azlin Alias might have proposed his name to Najib.

“I did not hold the cheque books for the accounts. I would only give my clearance if they called me to clear the cheques,” Nik Faisal added.

SRC International case investigating officer Rosli Hussain previously testified that Nik Faisal left Malaysia on May 7, 2018. He said statements were recorded from Nik Faisal and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho but MACC did not place a bond on them.

Low and Nik Faisal are wanted by authorities for money laundering and criminal breach of trust, and an Interpol red notice has been sought for their arrests.

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.