Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 32

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Former SRC director not aware of the existence of an AmBank account that received the first RM2 billion loan given by the KWAP to SRC in late 2011.

9.01am: Clad in a maroon suit, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the court.

Seth Akmal/TMI

He is seen conferring with his defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh while awaiting proceedings to begin.

Also seen in court is Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, DPP V Sithambaram and other members of the prosecution team.

9.15am: Proceedings begin, with Najib entering the dock.

9.16am: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas applies for further trial dates of the SRC case, which is set to end on Aug 15.

He tells judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali this is necessary due to the current pace of proceedings.

According to the previously agreed trial schedule, the SRC trial will end on Aug 15, with Najib’s 1MDB trial before separate Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah set to begin on Aug 19.

Nazlan tells Thomas that he is open to further trial dates in September and November, but that he is set to hear another criminal case in October.

Thomas then informs Nazlan that the prosecution would revert back with Sequerah and check whether he (Sequerah) is agreeable to vacating the 1MDB trial from Aug 19.

9.40am: Harvinderjit continues his cross-examination of former SRC International director Suboh Md Yassin on matters relating to hard copies of letters of instructions to AmIslamic Bank.

Thomas objects to Harvinderjit’s reference to the signatures as forgeries, saying they have yet to be proven so, and that there could be other explanations.

Suboh is shown six hard copies by the defence and is asked to compare them with other samples of his signature.

Suboh describes one of the six hard copy signatures as appearing “simplified”.

9.42am: Harvinderjit suggests that the board of directors never looked at the actual statement of accounts, whether of SRC or Gandingan Mentari.

The lawyer suggests that to remove money from the accounts it would require the approval of its signatories.

He then reminds Suboh that the latter had testified that he was not aware of transactions involving SRC funds.

Harvinderjit contends that money was being moved without Suboh’s knowledge.

9.45am: Suboh tells the court that he did not know who was in the company’s management team other than its then CEO and managing director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

He says that SRC management was “scanty people”.

Harvinderjit: Did you meet SRC management apart from Nik Faisal?

Suboh: I did not know if (SRC) got a management team or not. Only saw Nik Faisal. For most occasions, I did not know who was the management team. Very scanty people.

9.50am: Harvinderjit asks Suboh of his knowledge of Aabar-SRC Strategic Resources Ltd.

Suboh says he is not familiar with the venture nor with its directors and he only has knowledge of general matters.

10.00am: Suboh says even if he had signed any documents, it was done on the authorisation of Faisal.

Harvinderjit tells Nazlan that in the interest of time, he will use the same line of questioning he used for SRC’s chairman Ismee Ismail and will not rely so much on Suboh’s oral testimony yesterday. Nazlan agrees.

10.10am: Suboh says he does not know how Ismee Ismail became SRC chairman. Suboh also says he was unaware that SRC shares were registered in 1MDB’s name.

Suboh says on most days, he never knew who were the management of SRC.

He recalls meeting Terence Geh but did not know whether he was part of SRC.

Suboh says SRC’s office was in Menara Brdb bangsar. He would usually go to the office for board meetings.

Suboh: There were staff in the office, but I don’t know what they were doing there.

Harvinderjit: It’s the same as Nik Faisal, isn’t it? You didn’t know what Nik Faisal was doing.

Suboh: Yes, it’s the same.

Harvinderjit: Was there any time in the meetings that you were not free to voice your opinion.

Suboh: I wouldn’t put it that way, we were free to say anything.

Harvinderjit: At the meeting, you must contribute and say something.

Suboh: Yes, you must say.

10.30am: Suboh says that if he had views to the contrary, he would have to express them at the board meetings.

11.01am: Proceedings resume after a short break.

11.10am: Suboh says he was not aware why Faisal’s appointment as SRC CEO and managing director (MD) was not renewed in 2014.

Harvinderjit: Did you know that Nik Faisal’s tenure as CEO and MD came to an end when you were still an SRC director?

Suboh: I don’t know, actually, that it happened.

Harvinderjit: I’m not talking about him abdicating or running away. There was a point in 2014 when the board resolved not to continue his role as MD and CEO. Do you know this?

Suboh: Yes, yes.

Harvinderjit: You know this? What was the reason the board resolved not to continue his term?

Suboh: Maybe the board was not happy with him.

Harvinderjit: So, you are not sure?

Suboh: I’m not sure what the actual reason was.

Harvinderjit brings out minutes from an SRC board meeting. An excerpt from the minutes says that the board was disappointed with the non-filing of audited financial statements.

The board has been misrepresented, and only found out about this from a report by The Edge. It also says that the chairman emphasised the importance of corporate governance.

Suboh: Here is an expression of displeasure of the board at the non-submission of audited financial statements. When I expressed my views on how I see the board, how Faisal behaved, it’s in different context.

Suboh agrees with the lawyer that despite being described as having a “mountain behind him” (as Suboh testified yesterday), Faisal was made to relinquish his position on Aug 11, 2014.

Harvinderjit: Referring to minutes of Aug 11, 2014, Nik Faisal was no longer CEO of SRC.

Suboh: Yes, okay.

Harvinderjit: (This is despite) the “mountain behind” the man (Faisal). Who took over?

Suboh: (Mohammed) Azhar (Osman Khairuddin).

Yesterday, Suboh described Faisal as having been “emboldened” due to an unidentified person’s support, comparing it to the Chinese metonymy of having a mountain behind one’s back.

11.20am: Suboh says a son of his had joined the company’s project management team in October 2014.

He testifies that his son named Sufian joined the team under the leadership of SRC’s new CEO Azhar Osman Khairuddin.

Harvinderjit: According to the minutes of the board meeting in Oct 2014, you attended (the meeting)?

Suboh: Yes.

Harvinderjit: There is Sufian bin Suboh, is he your son?

Suboh: Yes.

Harvinderjit: He joined the (SRC) project management team?

Suboh: Yes.

Harvinderjit: (Under) Azhar (Osman) Khairuddin, he undertook two projects, namely the national strategic coal initiative, and the trans-Sabah gas pipeline, correct?

Suboh: Yes.

Both were projects of national importance.

Harvinderjit: Your son was appointed to the project management team under Azhar.

Suboh: Yes.

The defence counsel then continues cross-examining Suboh regarding Azhar’s appointment as the company CEO.

11.30am: Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi enters court.

He takes a seat in the front row, directly behind the dock where Najib sits.

A short while later, he exits the courtroom.

11.45am: The court hears that Faisal was no longer the CEO and managing director of SRC when the company appointed Ihsan Perdana as its corporate social responsibility partner.

Suboh agrees with Harvinderjit that Faisal’s tenure had ended on Aug 11, 2014.

He also confirms that Ihsan Perdana was appointed as the company’s CSR partner in September that year.

Harvinderjit then continues cross-examining Suboh on Faisal’s claims that he directly reported to then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Suboh says when he raised objections to actions taken by Faisal, the latter had always said that it will be taken care of by “orang atas”.

Harvinderjit: Did he say that “orang atas” meant Najib?

Suboh: No, he did not.

12.10pm: Suboh was not aware of the existence of an AmBank account that received the first RM2 billion loan given by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to the company in late 2011.

He is responding to a question from Harvinderjit over the account in question, which was identified by its ending numbers ‘736’, during cross-examination.

Harvinderjit: With regard to the ‘736’ account – you do not know, you were not the signatory (for the account)?

Suboh: Yeah.

The witness also says he is not aware of transactions involving the account.

Previous oral evidence by other witnesses has pointed to the RM2 billion flowing into the account on Aug 29, 2011.

12.14pm: Harvinderjit is now walking Suboh through SRC’s AmBank account ending with ‘736’.

Suboh says from January 2011 to August 2015, all of the money that came in and went out of the account were beyond his knowledge as a member of the board of directors.

12.20pm: Suboh agrees with the statement that on August 29, 2011, six days after SRC’s first ever board meeting, RM2 billion came in four tranches of RM500 million each. And on the same day, the money goes out in three tranches.

He says he was not aware where the RM2 billion loan from KWAP went.

12.24pm: Suboh agrees with Harvinderjit that it was fraud.

Harvinderjit: This is deception and fraud. This is someone with no clout who was flouting his power. Agreed? (referring to Faisal)

Suboh: Yes, But I don’t know what motivated him.

Harvinderjit: We will see when he confesses.

12.28pm: Suboh says he had no knowledge of the account ending with ‘736’, and that this was a secret account.

He says there was no way he could have signed money going out of this account because he did not know about it.

12.30pm: Shafee now addresses Nazlan, asking if Najib can attend a parliamentary briefing and come back for the trial by 2.45pm.

Shafee is making an application and Sithambaram does not object to it but warns that they must be punctual.

12.34pm: Shafee says the defence is filing an appeal in the Federal Court and the appellate court to argue that an MP must be able to perform his statutory duty.

12.35pm: Nazlan says court is adjourned until 2.45pm today but proceedings will only end at 5.30pm.

2.53pm: Proceedings continue with Suboh taking the stand. Harvinderjit cross-examines Suboh about SRC’s accounts.

2.56pm: Suboh says none of the board members were signatories to an AmBank account ending in ‘736’.

3.10pm: The court hears from Suboh that he would “just sign” directors’ circular resolutions (DCR) that were given to him during his tenure at the company.

A DCR is a documented resolution signed by a company’s directors, with wording to indicate that they support the resolution.

He says it was the practice then to sign DCRs without consulting other directors or referring to supporting documents.

Harvinderjit asks Suboh a number of questions, beginning with a DCR tendered in court.

Harvinderjit: How was this (DCR) sent to you?

Suboh: Normally they will call first, (asking) ‘Are you available?’

Harvinderjit: Who will call you?

Suboh: The secretary. (SRC’s then CEO) Nik Faisal (Ariff Kamil)’s secretary.

Harvinderjit: Do you discuss it with other directors (first)?

Suboh: I just signed it.

Harvin: That was the normal practice for all DCRs?

Suboh: Yes.

Harvinderjit: They show you, and you sign the DCR?

Suboh: Correct.

Harvinderjit: Would there be a supporting document, or just the DCR?

Suboh: Just the DCR.

3.14pm: Suboh says whenever he had to sign the director circular resolutions, he would go to the office to do so without anyone present.

4.04pm: Suboh says he is unfamiliar with the company’s application for a first loan of RM2 billion from the KWAP and a related government guarantee.

He also states he is unfamiliar with 1MDB’s initial attempt to secure a grant to set up SRC.

Harvinderjit: You are not familiar with the KWAP loan until it was approved and the related government guarantee issued (in late 2011)? When you came in (onto SRC’s board), it was already a done deal?

Suboh: Yes.

4.36pm: After a recess, Harvinderjit asks Suboh about the setting up of SRC.

4.55pm: Suboh says he does not remember signing any document to authorise any funds from the RM2 billion KWAP loan to go out of SRC’s accounts.

5.04pm: Suboh says he was not aware that RM4 billion had come in from KWAP and went out on two occasions.

5.15pm: Although Faisal’s term as SRC CEO ended in 2014, the company still retained him as an executive director afterwards.

According to Suboh, this was because it was thought that Faisal was the only one who could recover funds from the RM4 billion loan given by the KWAP to SRC.

Most funds from the loan had been moved overseas for alleged investment.

The board had initially accepted Faisal’s accounts of what happened to the funds in 2011 and 2012, but later became suspicious and ordered Faisal to bring the funds back to SRC.

Harvinderjit: Even when Nik Faisal’s term ended as CEO and (Mohammed) Azhar (Osman Khairuddin) took over (as SRC CEO), Nik’s role was (retained) to bring back the funds (of RM4 billion).

Suboh: He has the contacts, that is why we retained him as executive director.

Harvinderjit: As the company would be handicapped without him in terms of the (RM4 billion) funds?

Suboh: Yeah.

Harvinderjit: Even despite his action of having misled the board (on the auditing of financial statements), he was made to carry on not as CEO, but the company still had to keep him as executive director as he was needed.

Suboh: Hence, why he needed to be retained.

Harvinderjit: Otherwise, it would not make sense to retain someone who misled (the board).

Suboh: Yes, as it involved billions (loaned from KWAP).

5.30pm: Suboh and Harvinderjit clash over a purported similarity between a paragraph in the former SRC director’s witness statement and that of the company’s former chairperson Ismee Ismail.

Tensions rise when Harvinderjit highlights the alleged similarity.

Harvinderjit questions whether Suboh’s witness statement genuinely comprised his own words, which causes the witness to raise his voice in protest.

The lawyer points to the alleged similarity between paragraph six of Suboh’s witness statement and paragraph nine of previous witness Ismee’s own witness statement, whereby the purported difference was only one word, “turut“.

The paragraph in question deals with the composition of SRC’s board, and the appointment of all board members by then prime minister Najib.

The paragraph also states that the board members will act in accordance with the advice of the company’s then advisor emeritus Najib.

Suboh: At the end of the day, they (DPP) showed me, I looked at it (the words for the recording of the witness statement), and I am satisfied with the statement.

Harvinderjit: But you cannot confirm these are even your own words.

As Suboh tries to explain, the lawyer abruptly says “Thank you” and ends the exchange.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Nazlan then reminds Suboh not to discuss his testimony with anyone before proceedings resume on Monday next week.

5.30pm: Court adjourned until Monday.

Earlier reports:

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 31

July 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 30

June 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 29

June 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 28

June 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 27

June 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 26

June 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 25

June 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 24

June 12, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 23

June 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 22

June 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