Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 20

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Najib allegedly “shocked” about RM42m transfer into his accounts.

Seth Akmal/TMI

9.07am: Former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the Jalan Duta courts complex.

9.10am: Clad in a light grey suit, Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

The hearing starts today with lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah continuing the cross-examination of 37th prosecution witness Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman.

Shamsul, who is the managing director of corporate social responsibility company Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, tells the court about his time under MACC remand back in 2015.

He testifies that the MACC had wanted him to admit that he knew that RM42 million transferred out of Ihsan Perdana’s account had gone into Najib’s accounts.

According to Shamsul, MACC had reminded him that he was in the prospect of being charged for abetting in an offence related to criminal breach of trust.

Shafee: They kept reminding you that you were facing the prospects of being charged?

Shamsul: Yes.

Shafee: Were you worried?

Shamsul: But I denied (sic)…I didn’t know who was the receiver. So I told them, you want the truth, or you want me to tell lies? So I told them the truth, that I didn’t know. (And) the money was for CSR.

Shafee: When you told them you want truth or lies, why did you say that? Were they suggesting you say something else?

Shamsul: They want me to say something else, but I didn’t budge.

Shafee: What did they want you to say?

Shamsul: They said I knew who owned the private accounts. That’s the most important thing. But I didn’t know.

Shamsul also replies in the affirmative to a question by Shafee that the MACC had wanted him to implicate another person in the case.

He said he later learned that it was Najib.

Shafee: Was there any question (in which) they wanted you to implicate another person?

Shamsul: Yes, Najib. I knew after I was remanded. Then afterwards from the media, I knew it was Najib.

9.30am: Shamsul testifies that Najib was upset upon finding out that RM42 million had been transferred from Ihsan Perdana’s account into the then-prime minister’s two AmIslamic accounts.

Shamsul says he witnessed his reaction when he visited Najib at his Kuala Lumpur residence on Jalan Langgak Duta, following Shamsul’s remand by MACC for a few days in 2015.

Shafee: When you went to see Najib and told the story (about the remand and questioning by MACC), what was Najib’s reaction?

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

Shamsul: He was shocked about someone putting money into his accounts. He did not even know who put the money, (or) why it was done through my company (Ihsan Perdana). He was very upset, and I apologised to him. The last company that transferred the money was my company. If only I had known the source of the funds.

Seth Akmal/TMI

Shafee: You testified in court that you were only following instructions (to transfer the RM42 million into Najib’s two accounts)?

Shamsul: I did not (have dishonest intentions). My conscience is clear. The money all this while (that passed through Ihsan Perdana to other accounts) was for CSR. My belief was that it was for a good purpose.

Shafee: Was Najib’s reaction genuine?

Shamsul: He was genuinely shocked.

Shafee ends his cross-examination of Shamsul.

During re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, Shamsul admits that despite being shocked, Najib did not ask him to file a report with the authorities.

Saifuddin: Did he (Najib) asked you to lodge a report with the police or MACC?

Shamsul: No.

Former Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) CEO and the trial’s 38th witness, Azian Mohd Noh, takes the stand to continue her cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Ishak Mohd Yusoff.

Seth Akmal/TMI

She says that during her tenure at KWAP, the RM4 billion loaned to SRC International was the largest loan sum ever approved by KWAP.

10am: Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh objects to the line of questioning by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff towards the 38th witness, former Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) CEO Azian Mohd Noh.

Ishak: The Finance Ministry expressed hope that KWAP would issue the loan (RM2 billion to SRC) first and then the ministry would issue the guarantee 10 working days later (after the loan was disbursed). Have you ever seen this before during your tenure as KWAP CEO?

Azian: Not in the same scenario, it has never happened before.

Ishak: This was public funds, was it surprising to see this happen?

Harvinderjit: I object. Where is the evidence to suggest this (RM2 billion loan) was public funds? This is a loan. My learned friend must not be too loose with words. (He) must show evidence first this was even public funds.

Ishak then rephrases his questions to Azian, who resumes reading out her written testimony.

10.13am: Azian is shown a picture of SRC director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and is asked to identify him.

Ishak: Under your tenure as the CEO of KWAP, was it normal for you to disburse the loan amount first before getting the guarantee letter?

Azian: It has never happened except for in this scenario.

10.21am: Judge Nazlan asks the witness why there is a gap in her statement, in which she initially says that the panel only decided to consider an RM1 billion loan amount, but jumps to the fact that RM2 billion was brought up for the investment panel’s consideration.

Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini

Nazlan: Why is there a jump there? There seems to be a hole in your statement.

Azian: I don’t recall the sequence of events. All I know was that the chairman brought RM2 billion to be tabled by the investment panel.

Ishak ends his questioning.

10.28am: The witness is now being questioned by defence lawyer Yusof Zainal Abiden.

Azian declines to answer several questions from Yusof.

This occurs when Yusof touches upon KWAP’s procedures in approving loan applications from SRC in 2011 and 2012, which amounted to a total of RM4 billion.

Among the questions the witness does not answer is whether it was normal for KWAP to approve a loan application that is based on a government guarantee before receiving the letter of guarantee itself.

“No, I cannot comment on that. I cannot comment just because I haven’t experienced that,” she says.

Earlier, Azian testified under cross-examination by Yusof that KWAP’s main consideration in approving SRC International’s loan was the then 1MDB subsidiary’s ability to repay it.

A government guarantee, she adds, only gives further assurance to KWAP in approving the application.

“The guarantee strengthens the justification of the loan because if it’s guaranteed, it’s zero risk to KWAP,” she says.

Azian says she does not remember the specific sequence of events.

“But I remember the subsequent meeting of (KWAP) investment panel where the chairperson communicated to me to tell the panel members that the prime minister has communicated to him for KWAP to expedite the loan and that RM2 billion would suffice,” she adds.

11.25am: Court takes a short recess.

11.58am: Court resumes with Harvinderjit continuing his cross-examination.

11.59am: Azian says she was approached by MACC in 2015 to record her statement. She says she met MACC officers three times in 2015 and that those were the only times she was questioned by them.

12.02pm: She says her statement that she read yesterday was done with the DPP and MACC officers. She said most of the words in the statement were hers.

12.03pm: Azian says she requested her statement be recorded in English but said she couldn’t remember what the response was. But they continued to take her statement in Bahasa Malaysia.

12.24pm: She says it’s the fiduciary duty of all employees to act in the best interests of KWAP.

12.27pm: Harvinderjit asks what were the powers of KWAP’s fixed-income department.

Azian says it has the power to get any information regarding the loan. This is done to satisfy any queries the investment panel of KWAP might have when the fixed income department prepares the investment paper.

12.42pm: Harvinderjit asks if the investment panel is not bound by the recommendations of an investment paper.

Azian tells him to refer to the KWAP act on the roles and functions of the investment panel.

12.45pm: Harvinderjit points out that the finance minister has to appoint two representatives from the ministry to the investment panel.

12.53pm: Harvinderjit puts to Azian that the investment panel has the power to defer, deny or approve a loan. It can also delay approval to interview loan applicants and it has the power to obtain more information on a company requesting a loan.

Azian agrees with Harvinderjit’s statement.

1pm: Court adjourns for a 45-minute break.

1.51pm: Proceedings resume with the cross-examination of Azian by Harvinderjit.

2.02pm: Harvinderjit asks Azian to confirm how investment panel meeting minutes are taken.

2.15pm: Azian says she and KWAP chairman did not include in the investment paper a recommendation that the investment panel approve the loan.

2.17pm: She reads the comment that Najib wrote in SRC’s letter asking for the RM3.95 billion loan.

2.20pm: Azian testifies that Najib’s handwritten note on SRC’s loan application, which expressed his approval for KWAP to invest in the 1MDB subsidiary, did not amount to an instruction for the fund to do so.

Azian: The way I see it, the finance minister agrees with KWAP investing RM3.95 billion in SRC as per the letter (loan application by SRC).

Harvinderjit: Does this mean he (Najib) instructed KWAP to give the loan?

Azian: It means he agreed.

Harvinderjit then asks Azian if the KWAP investment panel had the power to approve loans without being bound by the Prime Minister’s Office or prime minister.

She replied, “That is what is mentioned in the act”. The Retirement Fund Act 2007 governs the functions and powers of KWAP.

Harvinderjit: Your instruction to Norhisyam (a staff in KWAP’s fixed income department) was not to approve it, but to leave it to his discretion?

Azian: Yes.

Harvinderjit: At no time were you, Norhisyam, or the fixed income department compelled to approve it, you did not take it as an instruction?

Azian: I definitely did not take it as an instruction.

2.48pm: Harvinderjit asks her if the investment panel could have rushed through the loan. She says yes.

Harvinderjit then asks her if they did that. Azian says no.

2.54pm: Azian says when she told Najib the investment panel would only approve RM1 billion of the RM3.95 billion requested, the former prime minister didn’t say anything.

Harvinderjit: Did he say, “No you must give them RM3.95 billion?”

Azian: No, he did not say that.

3.05pm: Azian describes two actions as being independent of each other – SRC reducing the loan amount being applied for, and Najib allegedly asking KWAP to expedite the loan approval process.

According to Azian’s witness statement, Najib had told KWAP chairperson Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah to expedite the loan approval process, and that an RM2 billion loan would be sufficient.

Wan Abdul Aziz had conveyed what Najib had said to Azian, who in turn informed the KWAP investment panel meeting about this development on July 19, 2011.

Harvinderjit: This request for RM2 billion was quite independent of what the KWAP chairperson told you on July 19, 2011?

Azian: They were two different things.

Harvinderjit: SRC had initially applied for RM3.95 billion, then the request was lowered to RM2 billion?

Azian: I cannot recall.

3.14pm: Harvinderjit goes through the meeting minutes when the investment panel approved the second RM2 billion loan to SRC.

3.46pm: Harvinderjit stops questioning for the day, Nazlan tells Azian that she has to come back on June 10 after Hari Raya and cautions her not to discuss the case with anyone during this period.

Court is adjourned until 9am on June 10.


Earlier reports:

May 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 19

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