Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib had ultimate power in 1MDB

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Ultimate power in every decision, particularly involving investment, financial decisions and national interests.

Kamarul Ariffin/The Star

The High Court was told on Thursday (Nov 11) that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had the “ultimate power” in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) when it came to the company’s decision-making.

This was testified by 1MDB’s former chief financial officer (CFO) Azmi Tahir, 48, who was the prosecution’s 12th witness in the trial involving RM2.28bil in funds from the sovereign wealth fund.

Azmi said the power was in line with Article 117 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association (M&A) of the company whereby every important decision must be under the instruction or the approval of the prime minister.

“Najib is the person with the ultimate power in every decision particularly involving investment, financial decisions and national interests,” he said in his 127-page witness statement.

Azmi said during his time as the CFO, there were “confidential moves” that were planned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, with the instructions and ‘blessings’ of Najib.

“Selected people were chosen and arranged in the highest management of 1MDB and the board of directors to ensure that these moves and backdoor instructions were carried out,” he added.

Azmi said they “worked in silo” and instructions were only known by people inside the layered system, coordinated by Low and Najib’s former principal private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias.

“The instructions I receive from them (Low and Azlin) in the form of a mandate from Najib as the prime minister.

“Therefore, the officers in the layered system have to follow Low’s instructions because his instructions are Najib’s instructions, in line with Article 117,” he added.

Azmi’s testimony echoed the testimony of 1MDB’s former CEO, Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, who also claimed that Najib had the ultimate power in the company.

During the testimony, Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed stood up to raise objections over Azmi’s statement several times, saying that the witness’ testimony was “hearsay”.

Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah, however, said the court would deal with the objections during the oral submission stage of the trial.

Azmi, whose previous position was in corporate finance at Deloitte, began working at 1MDB as the CFO on June 1, 2012, with a salary of between RM40,000 to RM45,000 a month.

“I am no longer working at any company and am self-employed,” he said.

He said Azlin contacted him during his early days as the CFO and said that Azlin wanted to introduce him to an important person in 1MDB, which was Low.

“That was the first time I heard about this individual called Low who was introduced as Najib’s 1MDB advisor,” Azmi said.

According to Azmi, he first met with Low in a meeting that was arranged by Azlin, who did not attend the meeting.

The meeting took place at Low’s office in KLCC in June 2012 after he joined 1MDB.

“I was told in this meeting that all the instructions from Azlin and Low were mandates from Najib and I only needed to follow them.

“After the meeting, I confirmed with Azlin whether what Low said was true and applicable. Azlin confirmed what Low told me.

“From then on, any instructions from Azlin and Low, I would carry out because I believe those instructions were mandates from Najib,” he said.


Earlier reports:

Nov 9, Najib’s 1MDB trial: 1MDB was run like a ‘Petaling Street coffee shop’

May 20, Najib’s 1MDB trial: US$2.7b became US$60,000 in just months but CEO kept mum

May 17, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Ex-1MDB CEO suspected illegal activities between Najib and Jho Low

Feb 15, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Ex-1MDB CEO believes UMNO benefited from 1MDB

Feb 15, Najib’s 1MDB trial: 1MDB’s senior executive meetings held in Jho Low’s apartment

Feb 10, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib claimed Saudi prince “donated” to 1MDB’s charity arm

Feb 9, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Najib received RM2.973b from 1MDB

Feb 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Jho Low known as “PMO” in 1MDB board meetings was “the man”

Feb 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Ex-CEO says in 1MDB, you either follow instructions or quit

Jan 6, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Day 52

Jan 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 51

Sept 17, 2020, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 50

Sept 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 49

Sept 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 48

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 47

Sept 2, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 46

Sept 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 45

Aug 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 44

Aug 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 43

Aug 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 42

Aug 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 41

Jul 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Set to Last Until at Least June 2021

Jul 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 39

Jul 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 38

Jul 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 37

Jun 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 36

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 35

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 34

May 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 33

Nov 11, 2019, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 32

Nov 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 31

Nov 6, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 28

Nov 4, 1MDB Trial: Judge Reprimands Najib After Tg Piai Trip

Oct 31, Najib Calls in Sick with Swollen Eyes, 1MDB Trial Postponed Yet Again

Oct 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 27

Oct 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 26

Oct 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 25

Oct 24, Najib Asks Prosecution to Hand Over Justo’s Information Given to MACC

Oct 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 24

Oct 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 23

Oct 17, Jho Low Changed 1MDB Constitution to Give Najib Absolute Power

Oct 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 22

Oct 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21

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