Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 22

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Witness says Nik Faisal the link between SRC directors and Najib while defence team tries to disassociate Najib from the decision to appoint Nik Faisal to the top position in the company.

8.58am: Clad in a grey suit, former prime minister Najib Razak enters the courtroom and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.

Seth Akmal/TMI

Seen at the front are Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and other members of the prosecution.

Also in court are Najib’s defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh and other members of the defence team.

9.05am: Najib steps into the dock as Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali enters the court to begin proceedings.

Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is also present in court.

9.20am: Harvinderjit begins the cross-examination of the 39th witness, former SRC chairperson Ismee Ismail.

Harvinderjit asks Ismee when was the first time he was questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Ismee says it was in 2015, but he cannot recall the month.

He says he was questioned again in 2018.

Ismee says he had two or three sessions with the MACC to prepare his witness statement.

Harvinderjit notes Ismee’s witness statement is only six pages’ long.

Harvinderjit asks if he was aware that questions would be asked of him apart from his written statement.

Ismee replies yes. He says it is his second appearance as a witness in court.

Harvinderjit asks him what he meant when he said yesterday that there were old investigations and new investigations.

He replies that old investigations were in 2015 before GE14 and new investigations were post GE14.

Harvinderjit asks how much his pre- and post-election statements differed.

Ismee says there was some difference but not much.

Ismee says that while recording his statement, he provided the minutes of SRC meetings, one of which was the document tagged ID499 which was not allowed to be submitted as evidence yesterday.

He says he had found this document in his briefcase at home sometime last year.

He says he was searching his home for documents related to SRC as MACC had instructed him to do.

He says he handed over to MACC other documents as well and that he had most of the board meetings’ minutes.

Ismee says he spoke to the other directors to compare the minutes and that Datuk Rashidi was among those he contacted.

Ismee says he found most of the documents in his briefcase and that he did not go through the minutes. He says he probably did not examine the last pages of the minutes.

He doesn’t know whether the minutes were officially signed off.

He says ID499 is the minutes of the meeting between Najib and Nik Faisal. He says he did not attend the meeting.

He says the meeting took place on September 7, 2011, but he does not know where it was held.

Harvinderjit asks if he agrees that the minutes and ID499 were not prepared the same way.

Ismee says the minutes are taken using a different format.

Harvinderjit says when the chairman signs off the minutes, he usually writes down the date with his signature.

Ismee disagrees. He says that the chairman when signing off on minutes did not date his signature.

Harvinderjit asks whether the six days it took to prepare the minutes was the norm.

Ismee says he usually liked to have the minutes on his table by within 72 hours of the meeting.

10.12am: Ismee admits he could not confirm the authenticity of the minutes he had of the alleged meeting between Nik Faisal and Najib.

Seth Akmal/TMI

Earlier, Ismee testified that he received the Sept 7, 2011 minutes from Nik Faisal purportedly after the latter briefed the SRC board over the meeting with Najib.

The SRC board was purportedly briefed during their Sept 13, 2011 meeting.

Harvinderjit: You cannot actually confirm if this is the actual document (alleged minutes of Sept 7, 2011 meeting between Nik Faisal and Najib) raised by Nik Faisal at the meeting (with SRC’s board of directors) as you never checked it after the meeting (between Nik Faisal and Najib)?

Ismee: Yes.

Yesterday, the defence had objected to the prosecution’s bid to admit the Sept 7, 2011 minutes as evidence.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then ruled that the item can only be marked as ID (identification) rather than as an exhibit.

Under the law, an ID item can only be referred to in passing during proceedings, and its actual contents cannot be raised during questioning.

10.15am: Harvinderjit brings out a document detailing Ismee’s work experience.

They go over the page together. It shows that among others, Ismee was a forex trader at Shell.

Ismee says he held five or six positions at Shell. He was Tabung Haji CEO and director until 2016.

Ismee says all the minutes he has were from the SRC management.

Ismee says he has never met Najib in relation to SRC.

Ismee says that at SRC, it was the management who dealt with the shareholders.

Court takes a 10-minute recess.

10.45am: Ismee admits he did not personally witness Najib sign the minutes of an extraordinary general meeting on April 23, 2012, which passed an amendment to the company’s memorandum of association.

The purported amendment was to Article 117 of SRC International’s memorandum of association, which led to Najib’s appointment as adviser emeritus of the company.

Seth Akmal/TMI

Previously, the court heard that the amendment resulted in the SRC board being required to give due consideration and implement Najib’s advice.

Najib was also finance minister at the time, overseeing the Finance Ministry’s holding company Minister of Finance Inc, which directly owned SRC.

During today’s cross-examination by lawyer Harvinderjit, Ismee admits he did not actually witness Najib signing the April 23, 2012 minutes.

The witness admits he was only relying on what Nik Faisal had told the SRC board in a meeting on June 8, 2012.

“You said on the face of it that it (the minutes) was signed by Najib. But you cannot tell as he (Najib) did not sign in front of you.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“It was only through Nik Faisal (that Ismee heard about Najib’s purported signing). Nik Faisal represented that he acted for Minister of Finance Inc.

“How exactly the minutes came about, you were not personally aware?” asked Harvinderjit. Ismee answered in the negative.

11.35am: Ismee says that in 2009, Tan Sri Nordin was CEO of 1MDB.

Harvinderjit asks about SRC’s RM20 million grounding grant. He asks if 1MDB would know about it. He asks Ismee if he knows who are Vincent Koh and Daniel.

Ismee says he knows that they were at 1MDB, but that he did not have direct dealings with any of the people mentioned.

Harvinderjit: In your mind, you were appointed as director of SRC to represent 1MDB?

Ismee: It was not told to me, but it was my opinion that I was appointed by SRC to represent 1MDB.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

Ismee says he never did ask who was the 1MDB corporate representative to SRC.

Ismee said that it was quite natural for him to think that he was appointed to represent 1MDB.

12.20pm: Ismee says he cannot recall if Nik Faisal had authorised the incorporation of SRC.

Ismee says there was a resolution signed by the prime minister to appoint Nik Faisal as a director of SRC.

Harvinderjit asks how directors were appointed in SRC.

Ismee says that all directors are appointed by the prime minister by resolution

Harvinderjit: You are saying when you joined SRC, you saw the resolution that the prime minister had appointed Nik Faisal as SRC director?

Ismee: It’s a resolution of the board of 1MDB.

Harvinderjit asks if the SRC directors were appointed by 1MDB.

Ismee says yes but they were made by shareholders’ resolution.

Harvinderjit charges there was nothing in the minutes to suggest that 1MDB made the resolutions to appoint SRC directors.

Ismee argues that the shareholders of a direct holding company may appoint the directors of a subsidiary company

Clause 117 of 1MDB’s Memorandum and Articles of Association stipulates that the prime minister’s written approval is needed to hire or dismiss company directors or senior management approval.

Ismee testifies that the decision to appoint Nik Faisal was made by the 1MDB board of directors in Aug 2011.

At the time, 1MDB was the holding company of SRC. Ismee was also a member of the 1MDB board at the time.

The decision by the 1MDB board to appoint Nik Faisal as an SRC director was reached after it received a resolution from 1MDB shareholders about Nik Faisal’s appointment, says Ismee.

“It was a resolution by the board of 1MDB, upon receipt of a resolution from shareholders to appoint (Nik Faisal) as director of SRC,” Ismee testifies.

SRC International was later placed directly under the Minister of Finance Inc on Feb 14, 2012. Najib was also finance minister, and as such had direct control over MOF Inc.

Court breaks for lunch. Session will resume at 2.30pm.

2.40pm: Proceedings resume after the lunch break, with Harvinderjit continuing his cross-examination of Ismee.

Harvinderjit: When did you first come to know that you were selected to participate in SRC?

Ismee: I was told in 2011 that I would be involved in SRC by 1MDB members.

Ismee then says when he took the role, he was not briefed on SRC. He says he was only briefed about SRC during a board meeting.

Ismee says he may have heard about SRC prior to his appointment, adding he was not briefed on SRC dealings.

3.09pm: Harvinderjit asks whether Ismee was aware of a letter Nik Faisal wrote to the government asking for RM3.95 billion from KWAP. Ismee replies that he was unaware of such a letter.

Harvinderjit then asks him why he was chosen to join SRC.

Harvinderjit: Why you?

Ismee: I have no idea.

3.32pm: Ismee says he was not acquainted with Suboh Yassin, also on SRC’s board of directors, prior to joining the company.

3.35pm: Ismee is asked whether he was appointed as SRC chairperson due to his vast corporate experience.

Harvinderjit: Coming back to your personal belief as to why you were selected, it was due to experience at the GLC level and corporate world.

Ismee: It was the same for the other directors (of SRC).

Harvinderjit: Yes, these directors had experience, there was no hurdle for anyone to be appointed by the prime minister (for positions in the company) per the articles (of association of SRC).

Ismee: Yes.

Harvinderjit: The appointment means there was an amount of confidence that you could protect the company’s interest.

Ismee: Yes. Sebenarnya, saya malu (Actually, I am embarrassed at being praised).

4pm: Ismee admits that the SRC board of directors never sought to verify whether Nik Faisal was indeed acting as a link with Najib.

Earlier, the court heard that Najib was appointed as SRC’s adviser emeritus.

Harvinderjit: Whether Nik Faisal had any discussion with Najib as adviser emeritus (of SRC), the board never wrote at any one time for verification? You just accepted whatever Nik Faisal said? It did not sound like gibberish and it sounded right?

Ismee: Yes.

Court takes a 10-minute recess at the request of the witness.

4.35pm: Court resumes after the break.

Harvinderjit asks whether a person acting as a representative of MoF Inc can be on the board of directors. Ismee says he doesn’t know.

Harvinderjit begins going through the amendment of Article 117 of SRC’s memorandum and articles of association.

Ismee says SRC had no other special advisers except for Najib.

5.25pm: Judge Nazlan calls an end to proceedings for the day. It will continue with the same witness tomorrow morning at 9am.

Earlier reports:

Jun 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 21

May 28, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 20

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