Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 35

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Najib called ex-KWAP chairperson to have RM2 billion loan disbursed early.

9.01am: Clad in a dark grey suit, former prime minister Najib Razak enters the court and takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery. He is seen chatting with a supporter.

Miera Zulyana

Also seen in court are members of Najib’s defence team, as well as deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram and other members of the prosecution team.

9.11am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

Former Treasury deputy secretary-general Mat Noor Nawi takes the stand.

Zahid Taib, the aide of SRC’s former CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil is present in court and Mat Noor is asked to identify him.

Mat Noor, the 44th witness, is let go from the stand after identifying Zahid.

After this identification, 45th witness and former Treasury secretary-general and Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) chairperson Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah takes the stand.

The hearing starts with the defence team being led by Farhan Read, as lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has yet to arrive in court.

According to Shafee’s son, Muhammad Farhan, the lawyer is making further preparations for today’s trial at his office and will be coming to court shortly.

9.20am: Aziz will be reading a statement he wrote with the help of MACC officers.

He retired from public service on May 23, 2008, and served as Treasury secretary-general on a contract basis until August 23, 2012.

9.31am: Aziz’s roles in KWAP included ensuring the smooth running of KWAP and overseeing its investments.

He had to chair KWAP board meetings in this capacity.

He is now going through the approval process of KWAP loans and investments.

Loans are given based on their credit rating and ability to repay them, he says.

9.35am: Aziz says during his tenure there were two tranches of RM2 billion loaned to SRC.

He saw a letter dated June 3, 2011, signed by Faisal and addressed to Najib seeking an RM3.95 billion loan.

9.37am: The letter contains the words “agree with this suggestion” written on it with Najib’s signature.

He says, in his knowledge, this meant that Najib agreed with the loan.

9.38am: Former CEO Azian Mohd Noor received the letter from the late Azlin Alias, Najib’s special officer.

Aziz confirms that the KWAP investment panel initially only approved an RM1 billion loan to SRC in an investment paper.

9.43am: On July 5, 2011, the investment panel held a meeting where he was present. The panel decided that RM3.95 billion was too big an amount to loan because of the high concentration risk.

Former witness Azlida Mazni jotted down minutes of the meeting.

Shafee enters the court and takes a seat at the front.

9.50am: On July 19, 2011, there was a special investment panel meeting to discuss an RM2 billion loan to SRC.

The investment panel then decided to allow the loan on the condition that it be made out to the government.

9.52am: They also approved the loan based on the condition of an impending government guarantee.

Azian informed Aziz that the government guarantee had been given and the RM2 billion had already been issued to SRC.

9.54am: On March 13, 2012, another letter was received from SRC entitled ‘Proposal for additional financing of RM2 billion to SRC’ addressed to Azian.

The letter was signed by Faisal.

9.56am: There was also a resolution signed by Najib in February 2012, giving a government guarantee on the second RM2 billion loan.

SRC International said both loans to be used for working capital and investments.

10am: An investment paper was prepared and on March 20, 2012, an investment panel meeting was called where they approved the second RM2 billion loan to SRC based on the terms as the first loan – that is, a government guarantee and the loan made out to the government instead of SRC.

10.03am: The money was not to be used for other purposes as stipulated in the loan request letter and the loan agreement between KWAP and SRC.

Any breach could have been deemed an “event of default”.

10.06am: When the panel initially decided to approve only RM1 billion, Aziz and Azian went to see Najib to inform him of the panel’s decision.

He says he once met Najib alone in the prime minister’s office on official Finance Ministry matters. He reveals that Najib had asked him to hasten the loan from KWAP.

Najib also told Aziz that RM1 billion was not enough and that RM2 billion would be sufficient.

10.09am: The meeting was just between Najib and Aziz.

After Najib made the request, Aziz told Azian about the prime minister’s instructions.

He says the request was also brought up in the first investment panel meeting to approve the first RM2 billion loan. There are minutes of the meeting.

If he did not meet with Najib about increasing the loan amount, the panel would have approved the initial RM1billion loan only.

10.17am: Aziz says he abstained from discussion of the loan at the KWAP panel meetings because of his role as Treasury secretary-general.

MoF Inc was under his purview and SRC was under the purview of MoF Inc. He says it would be a conflict of interest.

10.30am: Aziz says he received a call from Najib to disburse the second RM2 billion tranche of the loan to SRC before a government guarantee was issued in early 2012.

During examination-in-chief by DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim, Aziz says that this was why KWAP broke with its normal practice and disbursed the funds early.

“The government guarantee was approved earlier by the cabinet.

“Only that while awaiting the issuance process (of the letter of guarantee), I received a call from Najib for the Finance Ministry to issue the letter to KWAP for early disbursement (of the RM2 billion loan) as applied (by SRC International).

“This was later followed up with the government guarantee as soon as possible.

“I do not remember when (Najib called). Najib had asked me to make the early disbursement, so Maliami Hamad (then-Treasury deputy secretary-general) issued the letter on March 28, 2012.

Miera Zulyana

“I told Maliami to issue the letter on the same day for KWAP to issue the disbursement, the same day the telephone call was made,” says Aziz.

10.41am: Aziz says his positions in MoF and KWAP were simultaneous. He also served in PNB from 2012 to 2018.

11.05am: Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali says to defence counsel Farhan Read during the cross-examination of Aziz that the witness needs a break.

Earlier, the court was informed that Aziz was not in the best of health.

Proceedings come to a halt for a short break.

11.27am: Court resumes.

11.38am: Aziz says the fixed income department will meet with a loan applicant many times before approving KWAP’s loans.

The department ensures that the panel invests in viable investments.

11.43am: The judge reprimands Farhan for asking repetitive questions.

12.12pm: The Economic Planning Unit did a study on the viability of setting up SRC in 2010, before the loans were given.

Aziz says he is unsure about this and needs to see the study.

12.23pm: Aziz says before SRC wrote to KWAP for an RM3.95 billion loan, he received a phone call from Azlin saying that Najib has agreed that SRC was going to make an application.

He told Azlin the due process is that SRC has to write in and apply for the loan.

(Azlin was Najib’s private secretary at that time.)

12.36pm: Farhan asks Aziz whether he perceived SRC’s initial 2011 letter to Najib to apply for an RM3.95 billion loan as an instruction.

“No matter how or when the request was made, we have to go through the normal process,” Aziz replies.

The court previously heard that Najib wrote on the letter, effectively stating his agreement to the proposal.

12.55pm: The court breaks for lunch.

2.42pm: Proceedings resume with the cross-examination of Aziz.

2.50pm: Aziz says in the July 5, 2011 investment panel meeting, the panel had decided to limit the SRC loan to RM1 billion. He says this was done with due diligence.

2.57pm: Najib did not say anything when informed for the first time of the KWAP decision to only loan RM1 billion to SRC, instead of the RM3.95 billion it initially applied for.

Farhan: You relayed the information (panel’s decision) to Najib, and he did not say anything?

Aziz: Yes.

Farhan: The meeting with Najib was not a formal meeting, but you merely popped in to see him and then be on your way?

Aziz: Yes.

Farhan: You agree that after having informed him of this decision of the investment panel, it seemed he was fine?

Aziz: He (Najib) did not say anything.

3.10pm: Aziz says he met Najib often back then to discuss Finance Ministry issues.

In his witness statement, Aziz had said that Najib said RM1 billion was not sufficient and RM2 billion would be an adequate amount.

Farhan: When he said RM2 billion would suffice, he meant in reference to the RM3.95 billion?

Aziz: Yes.

Farhan: Basically he (Najib) said forget about the RM3.95 billion, but RM2 billion “memadai”, which means it would be enough?

Aziz: Yes.

Farhan: Did you interpret that as an instruction?

Aziz: It was for us to consider giving RM2 billion.

4.30pm: The court hears from Aziz that a memorandum for SRC’s second loan guarantee did not go through him in 2012.

Aziz testifies that he only heard about the company’s second government guarantee after it received cabinet approval.

For the record, the cabinet approved the second government guarantee for the RM2 billion loan to SRC in February 2012.

Under cross-examination by Farhan, Aziz says the memo prepared by the Finance Ministry was endorsed by his deputy at that time, Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

It was then taken up to then-second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, and later to Najib for approval prior to being tabled in the cabinet meeting.

“But this memo was not CC’ed (copied) to me. No ‘salinan kepada’ (copy to),” he tells the court when asked by Farhan if he was aware of it although he didn’t sign the document.

“It did not reach my table.”

Aziz later testifies that he knew about the cabinet paper, but not through reading the document.

Court has adjourned to 9am tomorrow.

Earlier reports:

July 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 34

July 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 33

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 32

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