Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 18

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It was revealed in court today that Ihsan Perdana’s former MD was told that the firm’s bank account would be used to move money, and he said that if he had known the AmBank accounts belonged to Najib, he would not have authorised the remittances.

Chronology of Events:

8.59am: Clad in a cream-coloured suit, Najib arrives at court.

Bernama

9am: Najib takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery while waiting for proceedings to begin.

At the front of the court are members of Najib’s defence team, as well as Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and other members of the prosecution.

Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is seen entering court a short while later.

9.11am: Najib enters the dock as judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali enters court to begin proceedings.

Defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh resumes his cross-examination of 35th witness Azlida Mazni Arshad, vice-president of legal and secretarial affairs for Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).

9.19am:  They are going through the approval process for KWAP’s disbursement of loans in relation to the RM4 billion loaned to SRC International.

9.20am: Azlida agrees that a letter of guarantee from the Finance Ministry was backdated prior to the ministry informing KWAP of the impending document, as it was being prepared together with a syariah-compliant loan facility for the RM2 billion loan to SRC in March 2012.

Yesterday, she testified that the Finance Ministry had sent a letter to KWAP dated Mar 28, 2012, informing KWAP that a letter of guarantee for the SRC loan would be delivered 10 days later from the date of the letter.

The subsequent letter of guarantee was dated March 27, 2012.

During cross-examination by Harvinderjit today, Azlida agrees with his question that the letter of guarantee’s date is the same as that of the asset sale agreement and asset purchase agreement related to the syariah-compliant loan facility to SRC.

9.23am: According to paragraph 66 of the witness’ statement, Azlida says the loan for a total of RM4 billion was the biggest ever approved by KWAP.

Harvinderjit finishes his cross-examination.

9.24am: Azlida is questioned by the deputy public prosecutor. She says she did not know the information in the investment paper. She maintains that every answer she had given Harvinderjit was her own opinion.

9.26am: The DPP tells judge Nazlan that most of Azlida’s answers during Harvinderjit’s cross-examination were hypothetical.

9.27am: Azlida also maintains that she was never involved in any decision-making when it came to approving or tabling the loans, and says she just took minutes at the investment panel meetings. She is let go from the stand.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

9.30am: Harvinderjit tells Nazlan that the KWAP CEO was supposed to be the next witness, but the DPP had informed the defence on Monday that the prosecution would drop the chief executive from the witness list and bring two other witnesses instead.

9.31am: Thomas tells the judge that the DPP has the discretion to decide who to call, and when.

“We are doing our best to accommodate witnesses’ schedules. But one thing we will not compromise on is them telling us when to call witnesses.”

9.34am: Nazlan asks the lawyers if the KWAP CEO took the stand, would they be able to finish?

9.35am: Thomas insists that the trial continues on Friday, and says it should be enough time.

9.37am: Thomas says the trial should be held on Friday, as according to the schedule, the trial continues that day, but there’s no date set for next week. Shafee says the principle is that they should be allowed one day a week to attend to personal matters.

9.39am: Shafee says they will offer the replacement dates for the Fridays they take off. Thomas urges the defence to give the dates now.

“We want the dates now. They should give it now,” says the A-G.

Thomas insists on an answer, on whether they can return on Friday to resume the trial. If this cannot happen this week, the defence must give a date for next week.

9.40am: Aishah Ghazali takes the stand as the prosecution’s 36th witness. The RedTech Offshore account manager was a senior executive at Ihsan Perdana, where she handled financial matters and was involved in the firm’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

She testifies that the company, which was previously known as Gem Horizon Sdn Bhd, was a corporate social responsibility company that carried out related activities for other entities that engaged its services.

During examination-in-chief by DPP Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, Aishah confirms to the court that between Dec 24, 2014, and Feb 6, 2015, there were three transactions through which Ihsan Perdana received a total of RM50 million in its Affin Bank account.

The witness also tells the court that as a senior account executive with the company, she worked under the orders of Ihsan Perdana managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman and finance director Abdul Aziz.

10am: Aishah testifies that the RM42 million transferred from Ihsan Perdana’s Affin Bank account to two AmBank accounts belonging to Najib between Dec 2014 and Feb 2015 was for the purpose of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Aishah tells Ashrof that the transactions were conducted based on orders given to her by Shamsul.

“The RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million I confirm have been sent out from IPSB (Ihsan Perdana) account to the receiver accounts at AmBank on Shamsul orders.

“All the transfers were for CSR,” she tells judge Nazlan.

She confirms that she filled out the remittance forms for the transfers of RM27 million and RM5 million on Dec 26, 2014. The former amount was transferred to AmBank account ending with the number ‘880’, while the latter amount was transferred to AmBank account ending with the number ‘906’.

She adds that she filled out the remittance form for RM10 million on Feb 10, 2015, which was transferred to AmBank account ending with the number ‘880’.

The AmBank accounts ending with the numbers ‘880’ and ‘906’ were previously established as belonging to Najib.

In a previous testimony, AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi testified that identical transactions took place.

Aishah also identifies Shamsul in the court.

10.22am: Harvinderjit askes the witness whether she knows Joanna Yu. Aishah replies that she does not.

10.27am: Aishah says she received an email from Aziz, which he had received from an Ung Su Ling, who claimed to be a representative from Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M). She says Ihsan Perdana handled CSR initiatives for YR1M. In the email, Ung had forwarded the AmBank account numbers and instructed that the funds be transferred there for “CSR programmes”.

She says Ihsan Perdana would still have copies of the supporting documents for the mentioned transactions.

10.30am: Farhan Read commences his cross-examination.

10.32am: Aishah tells the court she was the only personnel in Ihsan Perdana’s finance department.

10.40am: Aishah is asked to verify the transfer of RM50 million from Gandingan Mentari into Ihsan Perdana’s accounts. Farhan says RM40 million was credited to the account on Dec 24, 2014, RM5 million was credited on Feb 5, 2015, and another RM5 million was credited on Feb 6, 2015.

Aishah says she is unsure about whether Gandingan Mentari had credited RM40 million on December 24, 2014, to Ihsan Perdana’s Affin Bank account.

Farhan says a letter was issued on the same date to state that the funds were transferred from Gandingan Mentari, to which Aishah replies that she is unsure of this.

She says that from Dec 24, 2014, to Feb 5, 2015, no other transactions took place concerning the account.

10.47am: She says she never crossed paths with Gandingan Mentari in her four years of working at Ihsan Perdana, adding she was not aware of any relationship between Gandingan Mentari and SRC in relation to Ihsan Perdana.

She, however, admits that she was aware Ihsan Perdana had relations with state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

10.48am: Farhan asks the witness to refer to a single credit confirmation advice. He says based on the transaction details, RM40 million credited to Ihsan Perdana came from Gandingan Mentari. He asks if she was aware of this. Aishah replies, “maybe”. When asked by Farhan to explain her answer, she says she only got to know about these transaction details today.

10.56am: Farhan asks the witness to confirm if the RM40 million came from a Gandingan Mentari account ending with ‘948’, citing the transaction details. Aishah confirms this.

Farhan: As a senior accounts executive, it is your job to know the cash flow of money in the company’s account.

Aishah: Yes.

Farhan then asks if the RM5 million transfer on Feb 5, 2015, also came from Gandingan Mentari’s ‘948’ account. She affirms this.

Farhan asks her if she was aware of the purpose of the transaction. She answers she was not.

She also confirms that RM5 million transferred on Feb 6, 2015, came from Gandingan Mentari’s ‘948’ account.

10.50am: Farhan: Where did Ihsan Perdana receive funds from?

Aishah: 1MDB and YR1M. They gave funds to Ihsan Perdana to carry out CSR.

Farhan: Aside from 1MDB and YR1M, were there any other sources of funding for Ihsan Perdana?

Aishah: No.

YR1M was a charitable foundation chaired by former premier Najib Abdul Razak.

It came into the spotlight after receiving an RM35 million donation from the Genting Group prior to the 13th general election under its previous name, Yayasan Gemilang 1Malaysia.

There were speculations that the donations were related to the general election, but the link was never clearly established at the time because Yayasan Gemilang 1Malaysia changed its name to YR1M after receiving the donation.

11am: Ihsan Perdana received a total of RM123 million from SRC and its subsidiary Gandingan Mentari between 2014 and 2015, the court hears from Aishah.

She agrees with Farhan that Ihsan Perdana received RM20 million from SRC, while RM103 million was transferred from Gandingan Mentari.

She also testifies that another RM20 million that Ihsan Perdana received in its Affin Bank account was of unknown origin.

During the cross-examination, Aishah had earlier testified that, to the best of her knowledge, there were no ties between Ihsan Perdana and the two companies.

She tells the court that Ihsan Perdana only received funds from two clients, namely 1MDB and YR1M.

The court goes for a short break at 11.10am.

11.15am: Farhan asks her if it’s true that four cheques of RM5 million each was issued by Ihsan Perdana.

The witness is also asked how she recorded payments made by Ihsan Perdana. She said she issued payment vouchers.

11.08am: The nine transactions are:

  • September 11, 2014 – RM5 million + RM15 million
  • December 15, 2014 – RM20 million
  • December 24, 2014 – RM40 million
  • January 9, 2015 – RM40 million
  • February 5, 2015 – RM5 million
  • February 6, 2015 – RM5 million
  • February 13, 2015 – RM10 million
  • April 9, 2015 – RM3 million

Farhan then asks Aishah if she has any clue that RM20 million out of RM143 million came from SRC, she says, “may be”.

11.18am: Farhan asks the witness if there was other information attached to the payment vouchers.

She says yes, the payment vouchers were usually attached with an email printout or invoice.

11.25am: The four cheques were made out to a company Mail Global Resources. Farhan questions Aishah if she knows a company named Mail Global Resources.

She says yes. When asked how she knew, she says she came across the name when issuing cheques.

11.30am: Farhan: On Dec 29, 2014, there was an internal transfer of RM8 million within Ihsan Perdana. The money was transferred to one of Ihsan Perdana’s account ending with ‘1001’.

Aishah confirms this transaction.

11.35am: Aishah acknowledges that Shamsul never specifically told her that the RM27 million transferred from Ihsan Perdana to one of Najib’s AmBank accounts was meant for corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes.

Farhan: He (Shamsul) never said the payment was for CSR?

Aishah: We understood it to mean CSR because Ihsan Perdana carries out CSR programmes (for clients) and I felt that it (RM27 million) was for CSR.

11.45am: On the same date, there was a cheque of RM8 million (cheque no: 19327) issued to Mail Global Resources from Ihsan Perdana’s ‘1001’ account. This cheque was prepared by the witness.

The cheque was signed by Aziz and Shamsul.

Farhan asks the witness to confirm that the signatories for Ihsan Perdana’s two accounts were Aziz and Shamsul. She confirms this.

11.48am: On Jan 13, 2015, there were seven cheque transactions amounting to RM35 million from Ihsan Perdana’s account. Each cheque was for RM5 million. Cheque numbers were from 13259 to 13265.

11.50am: On Feb 17, 2015, there were 10 cheques amounting to RM10 million issued by Ihsan Perdana. Each cheque was for RM1 million. Cheque numbers were from 13268 to 13277.

Transactions were:

  • RM42 million to Najib’s account
  • RM73 million to Mail Global Resources
  • RM3 million to Mohamed Redzuan Adamshah and Tazri Talib.

12pm: Farhan confirms a total of RM118 million had been transferred from Ihsan Perdana’s account.

12.10pm: Harvinderjit begins his cross-examination, questioning Aishah on the cheque issuing process between Ihsan Perdana and Mail Global Resources.

12.15pm: Harvinderjit has finished with his cross-examination. The witness is let go from the stand.

12.30pm: The prosecution calls its 37th witness, Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman, who used to be one of 1MDB executive directors between 2010 and 2011 before heading Ihsan Perdana.

Shamsul was a practising doctor with the government from 1989 to 1997. After that, he went on to set up a clinic with some friends.

He is also an Umno member.

He was elected by Najib as a director in 1MDB’s CSR department.

He is questioned by prosecution’s Muhammad Saifuddin

According to his testimony, Ihsan Perdana’s establishment came after he was ordered by 1MDB board of directors to set up a company, with the purpose of taking over 1MDB’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

“The proposal (was) to set up a private limited company when 1MDB board of directors found that there was a conflict of interest for 1MDB to conduct CSR activities.

“I do not know why Yayasan 1MDB did not continue to carry out CSR activities, as I know that it can do CSR but does not have the capacity.

“From the discussion in the board of directors meeting, I was ordered to find a shell company to take over CSR works,” he testifies.

Shamsul, 58, who now runs a private clinic in Kelana Jaya, then tells the court that he was suggested by a company secretary, one Rashidi Md Deris, to take over Gem Horizon Sdn Bhd.

He says 1MDB board of directors then ordered him to let go of his position in 1MDB, and take up CSR jobs through Gem Horizon which was then changed to its current name Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd.

According to Shamsul, he and Aziz started holding shares of Ihsan Perdana of RM1 each from July 25, 2011.

He and Aziz signed on to be the directors and shareholders of Ihsan Perdana.

12.36pm: He says Ihsan Perdana had no other board members, and he and Abdul Aziz were the only shareholders.

12.40pm: Shamsul says Ihsan Perdana had 20 staff members.

He was tasked with carrying out due diligence, and responsible for all the money coming in and going out of Ihsan Perdana.

Ihsan Perdana received an RM40 million grant for CSR initiatives from 1MDB. RM5 million was to be used for operational costs.

12.44pm: Shamsul confirms Ihsan Perdana has three accounts with Affin Bank. All three were opened at Affin Bank The Curve.

Account numbers:

  • 106180001108 – Main account of Ihsan Perdana
  • 101180011300 – Operating expense account
  • 106180001001 – CSR financing account

Shamsul also confirms that he and Aziz are the signatories for all three accounts.

All Ihsan Perdana’s financial statements are audited by Wan Nazir and Co.

12.45pm: Shamsul testifies that Y1MDB and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) each gave annual funding grants of RM20 million to the company, beginning in 2011.

According to his witness statement, the funds from Y1MDB were meant for Ihsan Perdana to carry out corporate social responsibility activities in Malay areas won by Umno or BN.

Meanwhile, he says, the funds from YR1M were meant for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in Chinese and Indian areas won by the party.

Among the activities conducted by Ihsan Perdana were:

Program Khas Haji Perdana, which sent imams and village heads on hajj pilgrimages;

  • Nadi Kasih, which repaired houses for the poor;
  • Insan Samudera, which assisted fishermen; and
  • Jalinan Murni, which provided special assistance for the Orang Asli.

“The CSR programmes were planned by Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd. However, the target group was determined by MPs from BN or Umno division chiefs.

1pm: The court goes for a 30-minute break.

1.45pm: Back from the break, the defence team voices its dissatisfaction to the judge over an order issued by the MACC to AmBank, which has blocked Najib and his legal counsels from obtaining documents related to his now-closed bank accounts.

Shafee and Harvinderjit tell the court that AmBank had been providing the defence with the necessary documents to prepare for Najib’s defence for the past year and a half.

This, they add, came to a stop recently when an AmBank officer told the lawyers that the bank had been instructed by MACC not to provide any document pertaining to Najib’s accounts without the anti-graft agency’s permission.

Shafee tells the court that the order is affecting the preparation of his client’s defence and verification of key documents.

“These documents we are obliged and entitled to. The account holder is always entitled to documents when the account is either ongoing or has been closed […] to know what had been transacted.

“(There is) no basis for MACC to either hog this or do this. They can’t do this, because this is my client’s account,” Shafee says.

He claims that the order was given by an MACC investigating officer identified as Rosli.

The defence tells the judge that they have also sent an email on the matter for the court to decide.

A member of the prosecution then tells the court that they will need to discuss the matter first before responding, as the email sent by the defence was only received moments before the court took a break at 1pm.

1.43pm: Court resumes with Shamsul reading his witness statement.

1.55pm: Shamsul says all the money given to Ihsan Perdana was for CSR initiatives, and none was used personally by him or the staff members.

1.57pm: Based on a letter to Ihsan Perdana on Sept 3, 2014, Shamsul confirms Ihsan Perdana was selected to be SRC’s CSR partner for two years from the date of the letter.

2pm: Shamsul confirms that Ihsan Perdana received:

  • RM40 million on December 24, 2014
  • RM5 million on February 5, 2015
  • RM5 million on February 6, 2015

2.03pm: He also confirms RM27 million that went out to an AmBank account was on the instruction of Ung Su Lin who was from YR1M.

2.05pm: Shamsul says he is unsure where the RM40 million came from.

Before the RM40 million was transferred to Ihsan Perdana, he says YR1M’s project director Dennis See Thuan Buan met with him.

Shamsul says See had asked for permission to use Ihsan Perdana’s account as a transit and to transfer funds. Hence, he says he isn’t sure of the source of the RM40 million.

2.12pm: Shamsul says when SRC selected Ihsan Perdana as its CSR partner, it committed RM250 million but only RM50 million came through.

2.15pm: Shamsul corroborates the previous witness’ statement that he had no knowledge that the AmBank accounts belonged to Najib.

He says if he had known that the AmBank accounts belonged to Najib, he would not have allowed the transfer of RM5 million.

He also verifies another RM10 million was transferred to an AmBank account on the request of Ung via a phone call to him.

2.20pm: On Feb 9, 2015, Ihsan Perdana had transferred RM10 million to Najib’s ‘880’ account.

Shamsul says he received a call from Ung in early February to request for the transfer but is unable to recall the date.

2.22pm: RM42 million was transferred to Najib’s AmBank accounts based on instructions from Ung and See.

Shamsul says he acted on their instructions because Ung was YR1M CEO while See was YR1M director, and the foundation was a contributor to Ihsan Perdana.

2.30pm: Shafee starts cross-examination.

2.31pm: Shamsul says he had been questioned eight times by the MACC.

He says the first time he was questioned in July 2015 but could not recall the date.

He was arrested and remanded by the MACC for five days and four nights at its headquarters.

2.36pm: Shamsul: When I was arrested, I did not understand why I was arrested.

The MACC officers did not want to tell him why he was arrested.

When he asked why he was arrested, Shamsul said the officers told him they would discuss it the next day when they got a court statement.

An officer named Abdullah Sani recorded his statement that day.

The next day, the magistrate told him that he was arrested to help in the 1MDB case.

2.40pm: Shamsul says he was told that he was arrested for the transfer of RM42 million.

Shafee: Did you understand what you had done with regards to RM42 million?

Shamsul: I understood and I don’t see anything wrong in what I did.

2.43pm: Shamsul says there was accusation about the RM42 million transfer, adding that the deputy public prosecutor in the case didn’t mention the Act used to investigate him.

2.45pm: According to his understanding, Shamsul says he was arrested because of the transfer of RM42 million and that he abetted and misappropriated the money.

He says after GE14 last year, MACC called him to its headquarters for three consecutive days.

2.57pm: Shafee questions Shamsul’s career history.

1988 – graduated as a doctor

1989-1997 – worked for public healthcare

Worked in his clinic until 2008, then stopped practising.

Shafee: Why did you stop?

Shamsul: I was doing a lot of CSR work. I was also offered other jobs.

2.56pm: Shamsul says the statement he read today was in his own words.

2.48pm: He names a Rosli as the investigating officer for the case since his first arrest.

3.02pm: Shamsul says he carried out many outreach programmes on his own.

Shafee says he is asking about Shamsul’s outreach programmes to show that he was always someone qualified in CSR work.

3.05pm: The witness says he helped physically disabled children in Felda via Gabungan Wawasan Generasi Felda.

Later, he joined Bakti, where he says he did a lot of charity work.

3.08pm: Shafee: So, can I say you were quite prominent as a CSR person?

Shamsul: Yes

3.15pm: Shamsul says he was called in 2010 by Najib to help him carry out CSR work such as repairing homes for the poor.

He says the job was in 1MDB, adding he was chosen because of his experience in Bakti, his profession and networking in Umno.

Shamsul says he has known Najib for a long time, since 1989 or 1990.

3.20pm: He says when he joined 1MDB he was the executive director in charge of CSR and had See as a partner.

Shamsul says his appointment was made by the 1MDB board.

3.40pm: He says his first major project with 1MDB as part of CSR was to repair homes in Johor, and the cost of the project was about RM1 million.

He says he was only with 1MDB for a year from 2010-2011, and that Ihsan Perdana was formed by 1MDB to avoid conflict of interest.

Shafee stops his cross-examination and tells judge Nazlan that since the day is almost over and he is going into a detailed area of his cross-examination, he asks to continue at the next trial date.

Nazlan agrees.

3.39pm: He also allows Shafee’s application for case management on Friday to begin slightly after 9am.

Shafee tells the court that on Friday, Najib has a case mention at another High Court before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

The mention concerns Najib’s three charges of money laundering involving RM27 million from SRC.

Nazlan: We will come back on Friday for case management (to fix replacement hearing dates for the RM42 million SRC trial).

Shafee: We (defence) have to attend (mention of Najib’s RM27 million) case before Zaini first. We can settle that first and then come here.

Nazlan then schedules case management on Friday to begin sometime after 9am.

Proceedings then end for the day.


Earlier reports:

May 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 17

May 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 16

May 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 15

May 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 14

May 7, Najib Fails in Second Bid to Remove Sri Ram as 1MDB Lead Prosecutor

May 7, Najib Signed Guarantee Letter for RM2B KWAP Loan to SRC, KWAP Rules Breached

May 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 13

May 2, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 12

May 2, RM1M Golden Handshake in Final Month as PM for Najib

Apr 30, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 11

Apr 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 10

Apr 29, Court Throws Out Najib’s Application to Strike Out 7 SRC Charges, Trial to Go On

Apr 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Nine

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Eight

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Seven

Apr 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Six

Apr 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Five

Apr 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Four

Apr 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Three

Apr 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Two

Apr 3, Najib Trial: Day One