Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 19

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Najib advised SRC to secure billions from KWAP.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

9.05am: Dressed in a dark blue suit, former premier Najib Razak enters the courtroom and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to await the beginning of proceedings.

Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh and other members of the defence team are seen at the front of the court, preparing documents for the trial.

DPP Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi and other members of the prosecution team are seen conferring in front of the court.

9.13am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

Seth Akmal/TMI

9.17am: Harvinderjit informs judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that Najib’s defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is not present as he is attending to other matters at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya

“After the 12pm proceedings, then Shafee could come to court here,” Harvinderjit explains.

9.20am: Harvinderjit identifies three other witnesses for the benefit of the court. They are former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, former Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) chief executive Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Ihsan Perdana’s finance director Abdul Aziz Ismail.

Thirty-seventh witness Ihsan Perdana managing director Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman is cross-examined by Harvinderjit.

Harvinderjit: Regarding the starting of an independent vehicle (Ihsan Perdana), that came from (then 1MDB CEO) Shahrol (Azral Ibrahim Halmi) and not from Najib?

Shamsul: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Shahrol told you to start the independent vehicle, he explained in order to avoid conflict of interest?

Shamsul: Yes, it is difficult to transfer money (to Ihsan Perdana for the purposes of CSR work) otherwise, (to do) bookkeeping (and) transferring money to the contractor.

Previously in his witness statement, Shamsul testified that he was directed to start Ihsan Perdana in order for it to be 1MDB’s CSR partner.

10.05am: Harvinderjit asks Shamsul the reason for having three bank accounts.

The witness replies that it was suggested by (finance director) Abdul Aziz Ismail and he just agreed with the suggestion.

10.10am: Shamsul says it was (former LTAT chief executive) Lodin who suggested The Curve as Ihsan Perdana’s office.

The office was just enough to house 22 employees.

10.26am: Harvinderjit asks if the charity programmes carried out by Ihsan Perdana were in any way political in nature.

Shamsul replies in the negative.

Harvinderjit: Did anything in the letter state use the money for Umno and BN?

Shamsul: No, it was just used for charitable works.

Harvinderjit then refers to one of the letters from 1MDB to Ihsan Perdana providing a grant to the latter, which stated that the grant was given on the condition that it was not used for political purposes.

Harvinderjit: Your CSR projects, these are political activities?

Shamsul: No.

Harvinderjit: They are CSR activities?

Shamsul: Yes.

Shamsul also explains that the letter from 1MDB states that the grant was for the Mesra Rakyat project, which was to help people in rural areas access clean water and proper toilets, as well as help poor schoolchildren obtain books, among others.

10.33am: Harvinderjit asks if they undertook any real projects.

Harvinderjit: On a big picture, how many people do you think you helped?

Shamsul: I would say we helped about 5,000 households nationwide.

Harvinderjit: Do you have proof of this?

Shamsul: Yes, we do.

Harvinderjit: All the money you received in the grant was used for charity?

Shamsul: Yes.

Harvinderjit: None of the grant money went to Najib’s account?

Shamsul: No.

Harvinderjit: If they told you to take the amount and put in (his) accounts, would you have done it?

Shamsul: It would depend on who is telling me to do so.

Harvinderjit: Who is responsible for the grant money?

Shamsul: I am.

Harvinderjit: You couldn’t give it to the prime minister even if you wanted to?

Shamsul: Yes (I couldn’t).

The court then goes for a short break.

10.55am: Harvinderjit: There were big-picture discussions that you had with Najib, the main agenda being to update him on (CSR) projects you were doing and get his input on what is needed in terms of CSR necessity?

Shamsul: Yes.

Harvinderjit: How about the issue of grant money with Najib?

Shamsul: No.

When asked by Harvinderjit, Shamsul confirms that the issue of grant money for Ihsan Perdana was only discussed with 1MDB and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M).

11.05am: Shamsul says RM37 million was allocated for a charity programme called Nadi Kasih dealing with repair works on houses in rural and kampung areas.

He says this was done all over the country, regardless of whether the state was run by the opposition or government.

11.07am: Another programme is Jalinan Murni in which RM8.5 million was allocated. It was to help Orang Asli in rural areas, mainly to provide solar electricity.

The needy families for both charities were identified by state district officers, Shamsul says.

11.09am: Prosecutor V Sithambaram interjects the cross-examination, saying that the line of questioning is far removed from the charges levelled against the accused.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

He says the questioning is not relevant and asks the judge to make a ruling.

11.10am: Harvinderjit says he can do no more than refer to the witness statement, which states that these projects were necessary.

Sithambaram says the witness is called to introduce the role of his job.

11.11am: The judge asks Harvinderjit how his line of questioning is relevant.

Harvinderjit replies that it is necessary to give a picture on how Ihsan Perdana is run. He also wants to show that the CSR projects carried out were political because that is what the witness statement suggests.

11.13am: The judge allows Harvinderjit to carry out his questioning but asks him to be concise.

11.16am: Harvinderjit now quickly goes through various CSR programmes carried out by Ihsan Perdana.

11.20am: Some of the charities are Vitamin 1Malaysia (RM9.5 million); Ihsan Ramadan and Aidilfitri (RM22.5 million); Masjid Jamek-Kg Baru project (RM6 million) to restore and renovate the area; Project Kilat (RM582,500); Cergas Ceria (RM10 million); and project H20 to supply water in Sabah and Sarawak (RM29.5 million).

Shamsul says project H20 was special as it helped people in rural villages get water supply.

Harvinderjit: When you do these projects, do you carry the BN and Umno flags around?

Shamsul: No, never, we never did that.

11.32am: Harvinderjit asks Shamsul if he knows Mail Global Resources, to which he replies, “No”.

11.34am: Harvinderjit goes through Ihsan Perdana’s main account’s (1108) financial statement from September 2014 to April 2015.

He asks Shamsul if he knew that RM20 million was credited to the account on September 11, 2014, to which the latter replies, “No”.

11.41am: Shamsul says if he had known the name of the private accounts the money went in, he would have called the account holder to verify.

He also tried to find out to whom the accounts belonged.

Harvinderjit: If you had known that the accounts belonged to the sitting prime minister Najib, would you have called him to clarify and verify the money going into the account?

Shamsul: Of course, I would have.

11.57am: Shamsul says he only knew about the RM40 million a few days before the money was transferred to the account (on December 24, 2014).

12.30pm: Harvinderjit goes through Ihsan Perdana’s transactions, as mentioned in Shamsul’s statement.

He asks Shamsul where the instructions to transfer money to Mail Global Resources came from. Shamsul replies that the directives came mostly from Ung and See.

Earlier, the witness said Ung Su Ling was introduced to him as the CEO of Yayasan Rakyat 1 Malaysia, adding that Dennis See is Ung’s cousin.

12.42pm: Shamsul says SRC’s then-director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil admitted that a total of RM143 million deposited into Ihsan Perdana’s account came from the 1MDB subsidiary.

He testifies that Nik Faisal had told him this when confronted through a phone call regarding the origin of the funds.

Shamsul says he only discovered SRC had parked its funds in Ihsan Perdana’s accounts through a news report.

He tells the court he had subsequently been arrested by the authorities over the case soon after arriving from Belgium on July 1, 2015, before he could contact Nik Faisal.

He then called Nik Faisal after he was released from police remand.

“So I just came out from my remand period, he (Nik Faisal) said the money was from SRC.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“The conversation was short and brief,” said Shamsul.

12.45pm: Court adjourns for prayers.

1.55pm: The trial resumes with former Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) CEO Azian Mohd Noh taking the stand. She begins by reading a statement prepared with the help of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

The 38th prosecution witness says that when she was a KWAP CEO, her role was to ensure that investments made sufficient returns.

She explains KWAP’s role as well as the processes and guidelines for investments to be made.

2.02pm: She says KWAP’s loans and private debt securities’ section analyse any and all investment requests before they are brought to its investment panel.

2.05pm: She says when she was CEO, she was aware that there was a request from SRC for a loan of RM2 billion in 2011 and another request for RM2 billion in 2012.

She says KWAP approved both loans amounting to RM4 billion, with RM2 billion approved in 2011 and the other half in 2012, to SRC.

2.09pm: She says in 2011, she received an originating letter from SRC dated June 3, 2011, from the late Azlin Alias, who was a special officer to Najib. She says she had known Azlin for almost two years and they had worked together before. She was asked to meet him at a hotel lobby in KL Sentral at night. She met Azlin for about 45 minutes, during which Azlin handed her the application letter.

Azian testifies that the letter was signed by Nik Faisal and that it also contained a handwritten footnote that said “Bersetuju dengan cadangan ini (Agree with this proposal)”, which was dated June 5 and signed by Najib.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

She says that to her knowledge, the term “agree with this proposal” means the prime minister agreed that KWAP should give SRC RM4 billion.

2.21pm: Prosecution lawyer Ishak Mohd Yusoff begins questioning Azian.

Azian testifies that she did not reject SRC’s application letter outright when it was handed to her in June 2011, although it did not meet requirements.

She replies in the affirmative to Ishak’s question that the letter had not met the fund’s requirements, including the fact that it was addressed to Najib instead of KWAP.

Under examination-in-chief by Ishak, Azian adds that she later took the letter and showed it to KWAP chairperson Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, who ordered KWAP to study the loan application and for its investment panel to deliberate on it.

2.28pm: Azian says that KWAP’s former assistant vice-president Amirul Imran Ahmat, who previously testified as a witness, prepared an RM1 billion investment paper for the panel. She says that the paper was only prepared for RM1 billion after taking into consideration payment risks, risks to the country, industry risks and overconcentration.

She begins reading excerpts of the investment paper to the court.

2.33pm: She says she was present at an investment panel meeting chaired by Wan Abdul on July 5, 2011.

In the meeting, it was decided that KWAP would delay approving the loan until they received more information about SRC International.

2.40pm: Harvinderjit objects to the line of questioning by the DPP, saying he is “beating around the bush”.

Alyaa Alhadjri/Malaysiakini

Ishak replies by saying that he has his own style of questioning.

2.41pm: Azian is asked why the proposal was delayed instead of rejected.

She says this was to give SRC an opportunity to furnish information, adding it was not uncommon for the panel to ask for more information should it feel the need.

She says an individual on the panel had suggested that Najib be informed personally about the fact that it was only studying an RM1 billion loan approval.

She states she and Wan Abdul had gone to see Najib personally at the Prime Minister’s Office but does not remember the exact date of the meeting.

2.45pm: She says after the meeting, Amirul had prepared an investment paper for RM2 billion for the purpose of working capital and general investments.

2.51pm: Azian says that another panel meeting was held on July 19, 2011. At the meeting, she told the panel that Najib wanted the loan approval to be expedited and that RM2 billion would suffice.

Azian says that she was ordered to make this announcement by Wan Abdul Aziz.

She adds that the special investment panel meeting decided to provide the RM2 billion loan to 1MDB instead of SRC International, on the condition that the loan was guaranteed by the government.

An alternative condition was for KWAP to approve the loan to the government, which in turn would lend the funds to SRC International.

2.56pm: Azian says the panel made the following recommendations:

1) RM2 billion was too much to give a company with an initial model of RM2. They agreed to give RM1 billion only.

2) The members agreed to give the money to 1MDB as it was wholly owned by MKD and not to SRC. This was because 1MDB had better financial management discipline and was supervised by MKD.

3) The panel was worried about the aforementioned risks if it had given the loans to SRC.

4) The panel questioned the intention of SRC to invest in raw materials, which needed a lot of expertise.

3.02pm: Azian says after deliberating, the panel approved an RM2 billion loan to 1MDB and not SRC. The approval was based on KWAP’s support of the government’s strategic initiatives. She says the condition was that KWAP would give the loans to the government, and the government would give the money to 1MDB.

3.04pm: The DPP asks Azian how the RM1 billion proposal to be approved by the panel rose to RM2 billion.

She says she cannot recall when the request for RM2 billion was made, only that she was told by the chairman to expedite the RM2 billion approval.

She says she recalls receiving a letter from SRC on August 12, 2011, requesting that the RM2 billion go straight to SRC instead of 1MDB as SRC is under 1MDB, which had government backing.

3.15pm: Azian says on August 22 that year, the Finance Ministry also furnished her a letter sanctioning the RM2 billion to be given to KWAP.

KWAP then gave SRC an offer letter for RM2 billion, according to the terms and conditions set by the investment panel. She says she signed the letter herself.

3.36pm: Azian says on March 13, 2012, KWAP received another letter from SRC requesting an additional RM2 billion loan from KWAP signed by Nik Faisal.

3.40pm: An investment paper was then prepared for the panel to decide if an additional RM2 billion should be given to SRC based on the terms and conditions set in the first loan agreement, which would have a government guarantee as well.

The investment paper stated that the finance minister (Najib) had approved the request and advised SRC to get the funds from KWAP, seeing as to how it had approved the first loan.

3.45pm: Azian says the investment panel met on March 20, 2012, and approved the loan based on the same terms as the first loan.

She says Nik Faisal emailed her on March 22, 2012, with the supporting documents for the RM2 billion loan approval attached.

3.52pm: Going back to an earlier part of her statement on meeting Najib at his office, the DPP asks Azian what she remembers from the meeting.

She says she does not remember what was discussed at the meeting with Najib.

3.55pm: She continues her statement on the second loan, saying KWAP’s fixed income department had sought the investment panel’s approval to give the payment out in one lump sum instead of in progress payments.

3.58pm: Questioning for the day is done. Judge Nazlan adjourns proceedings to 9am tomorrow morning.

Earlier reports:

May 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 18

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