Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21

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Jho Low cautioned ex-1MDB CEO to be super careful so the information gathered in any audit would not be used against Najib.

2.10pm: Accused Najib Razak enters the dock.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

Court is in session.

Lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram apologises to the court for his time away at another court this morning.

Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi takes the stand.

Lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah continues his cross-examination.

2.12pm: Shafee refers to a 1MDB letter, written by Sahrol and addressed to Najib.

The letter was written to Najib in his capacity as prime minister and finance minister.

The letter was sent in December 2009.

2.15pm: In the letter, Shahrol sought to confirm the decision and direction on the board of advisors on the federalisation process of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).

He also informed Najib that 1MDB board of directors has appointed Ernst & Young as its auditors.

2.17pm: Shahrol confirms the board of advisors was chaired by Najib and that the board comprised then-Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, former chief secretary to the government Sidek Hassan and Economic Planning Unit Head Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

2.25pm: Shahrol says he was briefed on the “talking points” of the board of advisors by Jho Low.

He says the board might not necessarily agree to a decision.

Shahrol says he was told by Low that the board’s decision was already made in a prior meeting between Najib and Wan Abdul Aziz.

2.34pm: Shafee says there is no other evidence to support what Shahrol is saying.

“We are totally at the mercy of you saying it verbally, without any other contemporaneous document to support you are saying,” says Shafee.

2.37pm: This is after Shahrol says Low’s “talking points” were deleted in 2015, after Low that year instructed emails related to 1MDB be deleted.

2.43pm: Shahrol says he does not have proof that the letter to Najib was ever received.

The letter was about having no requirements for auditing or due diligence to be undertaken by the auditor-general.

2.54pm: Shafee now refers to a letter dated June 7, 2010, which is a memo from Wan Abdul Aziz to Najib and then second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

The letter referred to the audit and due diligence process by the National Audit Department.

Shafee says a government audit went ahead anyway, despite the 1MDB board of advisors saying there was no requirements.

2.59pm: The letter says due diligence was a necessary requirement and would prevent a negative perception of the government and its use of taxpayers’ funds.

3.02pm: Shafee says on the side Najib wrote that he agreed for the government to carry out the audit and due diligence process to determine the consideration price of 1MDB.

3.06pm: Shahrol testifies that Jho Low told him in 2010 to be careful with any information gathered in any planned due diligence of the sovereign wealth fund so it would not be used against then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

He says this in reply to a question from Shafee during cross-examination this afternoon.

Shafee is asking the 9th witness whether there was any tension in 2010 when the National Audit Department was of the view that 1MDB ought to be audited, while the sovereign wealth fund held the opposite view.

“I do not recall any tension. What I recall was that we were told by Jho (Low) that we have to be super careful, less any information gathered during the (due diligence) exercise would be used against Najib,” Shahrol says.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

3.22pm: Shafee asks Shahrol if he sent phone messages to Najib.

Shahrol says he texted Najib to wish him on his birthdays and on festive occasions.

Shafee says he can bring up Najib’s current phone to show that Shahrol had been in “messaging mode” when Shahrol was 1MDB CEO.

Shahrol: Go ahead. I am innocent.

Shafee asks if the witness was “foolish” to have followed Low’s instructions.

Shahrol: No. What Jho Low said was consistent with the actions of Datuk Seri Najib’s and never even once after the fact, was I told by Datuk Seri Najib that I shouldn’t have done something.

Shafee asks if Shahrol suspected there was any illicit activities in 1MDB, due to Low’s request that no government audit be carried out.

Shahrol says the reasoning was that 1MDB received only RM4.3 billion out of the RM5 billion bonds.

Shahrol: This was already played up as an issue by the opposition at the time. So, I believe Jho (Low) when he said restricting the audit served to protect the political interest of the prime minister.

3.45pm: Court takes a recess.

4.08pm: Shafee refers to a letter from 1MDB to the auditor-general.

The lawyer says Shahrol sent the letter to the audit department. The auditor-general responded on August 25, 2010, that the entity must be audited to check that every item was bought at fair value and to calculate the liabilities the government might be responsible for.

The response was cc’d to the Treasury secretary-general.

4.14pm: The witness agrees with a suggestion that the auditor-general and 1MDB were in disagreement over the audit requirements.

4.25pm: Earlier, the court heard that Shahrol was told by Jho Low to be “super careful” with information leakage from the company.

This includes ensuring that no copies are to be made of 1MDB documents.

Shafee puts it to Shahrol that Low had treated 1MDB as he wished, to which the witness disagrees.

Shafee: So, Low was treating 1MDB as though 1MDB was his grandfather’s company. Documents are secret… Like it is not a company of MOF Inc. Low told you and you followed.

Shahrol: Low was relaying to me instructions from the shareholders.

Shafee: And all these you followed Low’s instruction.

Shahrol: We were following shareholders’ instruction.

4.39pm: Shafee accuses the witness of trying to hide the true state of 1MDB’s finances by opposing the audit and that the witness was in “cahoots” with Low.

Shahrol disagrees.

5.02pm: Shafee concludes cross-examination for today.

He tells the court the accused has to attend question time in parliament. Shafee also asks for tomorrow’s hearing to start late at 2.30pm because his presence is required in another court.

Judge Sequerah allows both requests.

5.05pm: Court is adjourned.

Earlier reports:

Oct 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20

Oct 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 19

Oct 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 18

Oct 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 17

Oct 7, Some Umno People Envious of Jho Low-Najib Ties, Court Told

Oct 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 16

Oct 1, Arul Kanda Told Ex-1MDB CEO to Leave Country to Avoid PAC Meeting

Oct 1, Ex-1MDB CEO Paid RM99K Monthly, RM1.5M Bonus

Oct 1, Jho Low Helped Plan Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Trip to Sway Voters for GE13

Sept 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 15

Sept 30, Witness: Najib Used 1MDB to Raise Funds for GE13

Sept 26, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 14

Sept 26, Jho Low, Tim Leissner Played “Matchmaker” for Najib to Meet Goldman Sachs

Sept 26, US$9M Transferred from Jho Low’s Good Star to Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures

Sept 26, Jho Low, Najib Faked Meeting Minutes to Move US$750M from 1MDB to PSI

Sept 26, Najib Agreed to 1MDB Borrowing RM3B from SOCSO to Lend to PetroSaudi

Sept 25, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 13

Sept 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 12

Sept 23, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 11

Sept 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine

Sept 18, Najib’s Ex-Aide Led MACC to Raid on Jho Low’s Apartment

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Halted Briefly for Najib to See Eye Specialist

Sept 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Eight

Sept 17, Witness Identifies Riza Aziz, Arul Kanda and Five Others as Key Players in 1MDB Saga

Sept 17, Bono, Queen of Jordan, Rosmah Floated as Trustees for TIA

Sept 17, Witness Says 1MDB Najib’s Baby, Defence Claims It Was Terengganu Sultan’s Idea

Sept 11, Najib’s Eye Infection Halts 1MDB Trial

Sept 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Six

Sept 10, Rosmah Fond of Jho Low

Sept 10, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Provided Scripted Responses to Deny His Involvement in 1MDB

Sept 10, Istana Negara Questioned Jho Low’s Role in 1MDB Predecessor TIA

Sept 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Five

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Judge Raps Shafee over Najib’s Tardiness

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Took US$200K Loan from Jho Low to Buy Property

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Accused of Lying

Sept 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Four

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Mudabala CEO Was Promised All Sorts of Things

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide, Jho Low on “Secret China Mission” to Bail Out 1MDB

Sept 4, Jho Low Ordered Najib’s Ex-Aides to Open Overseas Bank Accounts

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Three

Sept 3, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Drew Out Wealth Fund Concept on Kitchen Whiteboard

Sept 3, Jho Low Gave Possibly Forged Letters from Saudi Arabia to Stop 1MDB Probe

Sept 3, Only Najib and Jho Low Knew “Full Picture” of 1MDB Plan

Sept 3, Jho Low in Najib’s Inner Circle

Aug 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Two

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day One

Aug 28, Shafee: Prove Najib Knew Arab Donation Letter Faked, Jho Low Is Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Shafee Again Questions Sri Ram’s Appointment

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Gopal Sri Ram’s Full Opening Statement

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Prosecution to Show Saudi Donations a Sham

Aug 28, Najib’s 1 MDB Trial: Prosecution to Prove Jho Low Was Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Begins