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Day 12: ‘1MDB’s application for RM3 billion to establish SRC was denied’

May 3, 2019

* Najib’s 1MDB trial proper to start mid-August
* Najib’s big-spending ways laid bare  

The criminal trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd enters its 12th day today at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the proceedings.

Summary of Najib’s SRC RM42 million case

Najib is facing 7 charges relating to RM42m involving SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.

Presiding High Court Judge

Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali

Prosecution

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (lead), Sulaiman Abdullah, V Sithambaram, Manoj Kurup, Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Donald Joseph Franklin, Suhaimi Ibrahim, Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, Sulaiman Kho Kheng Fuei, Budiman Lutfi Mohamed, Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril, Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, and Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril

Defence

Shafee Abdullah (lead), Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, Harvinderjit Singh, Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Chong Loong Men, Devanandan S Subramaniam, Farhan Read, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, Rahmat Hazlan, Muhammad Farhan Shafee, Tiara Katrina Fuad, Nur Syahirah Hanapiah, and Zahria Eleena Redza

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1MDB applied for RM3b from EPU grant to establish SRC
  • ‘RM1m special PM allowance by the book’
  • ‘Talk slower, please’
  • Najib shakes cop’s hand as he enters court

1MDB applied for RM3b EPU grant to establish SRC

12.30pm – Kamariah Noruddin, the former deputy director-general (macro) of the Economic Planning Unit, testifies that it received an application for an RM3 billion grant to establish SRC International Sdn Bhd on Aug 24, 2010.

Kamariah (photo), the 28th witness, tells deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril that she found it hard to process the application, as it was out of the ordinary.

“It was an application by 1MDB to the (then) finance minister and prime minister (Najib), which was then forwarded (to the EPU).

“The 1MDB letter was signed by Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, the CEO (of 1MDB) to Najib.

“The letter was an application for an RM3 billion grant for the establishment of SRC International, which is a special vehicle in order to maintain the strategic state, production, logistic, and trading in key resource areas like oil and gas, coal, iron, among others.”

Kamariah says she was ordered by her then-superior Noriah Ahmad to go through the application.

She adds that Noriah had also received a directive from then-minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop (photo), who oversaw the EPU, to consider the application forwarded by Najib.

The witness points out that the application was declined, and that only RM20 million was approved for the launching grant.

“The Prime Minister’s Department supported the 1MDB (application) in regards to coal and uranium (for the launch of SRC International).

“However, the extraction of gas was not supported, as this was already being done by Petronas as a strategic resource, while iron and aluminium were suggested to remain with the private sector.

“The application for the RM3 billion grant was not supported, and so the SRC establishment was only provided with RM20 million for launch,” she says.

Kamariah says that even though Tenaga Nasional Bhd already managed coal at the time, the government still supported the establishment of SRC International for the import of coal, so as to guarantee energy security.

She adds that Putrajaya also backed SRC International’s venture into the aluminium sector.

The witness then says that she then prepared a memo addressed to Najib on Oct 12 that year, signed by Nor Mohamed, in support of the RM20 million grant.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then directs for proceedings to break for lunch and resume at 2pm, to allow the defence to cross-examine Kamariah.

‘RM1m special PM allowance by the book’

11.40am – The RM1 million special allowance that Najib Abdul Razak received as prime minister was in accordance with the law, according to a witness.

Prime Minister’s Department deputy chief accountant Zarina Yusuf, the prosecution’s 27th witness, also says that Najib made RM22,000 a month as prime minister until April 2018.

It was only in May 2018, Zarina tells deputy public prosecutor Izzat Fauzan, that Najib made just RM6,627.09, prorated for his nine days in office.

His pay, she adds, was bumped up from the RM18,000 a month he received as deputy prime minister.

Najib’s salary was deposited into his Affin Bank account.

‘Talk slower, please’

10.30am – A moment of levity is seen in court as the rapid delivery of the 25th witness, Prime Minister’s Department (Parliamentary Affairs) secretary Daman Huri Nor, forces prosecution and defence lawyers to ask him to slow down.

“Please slow down as we are trying to write it down. Thank you,” Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh (photo) says, before sitting down.

Taken aback, Daman continues his testimony at the same speed, prompting deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashraf Adrin Kamaril to remind him that both the prosecution and defence cannot keep up.

The witness continues speaking rapidly, which causes the defence to calmly remind him to slow down yet again.

“Daman, usually you see Yang Arif listening to the story first, but the rest of us need to write.

“When you are testifying, please observe our hands as we write,” defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah reminds the witness.

Daman finally slows down, and testifies on various government appointments prior to the 14th general election.

Najib shakes cop’s hand as he enters court

10.25am – Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

10.08am – Clad in a dark blue suit, Najib Abdul Razak enters the courtroom and takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery.

The former premier also takes the opportunity to shake hands with a police officer in court as he waits for proceedings to begin.

Earlier, he attended a hearing before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah in relation to his 1MDB trial.

This was in relation to the prosecution’s bid to postpone the 1MDB trial, so as to avoid any clash with the ongoing SRC International hearing.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who also attended the hearing before Sequerah, makes his way into the courtroom.

Sequerah had ruled that the 1MDB trial will commence on Aug 19.

Soon after, Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah joins the other members of the defence team.

The trial of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, involving the alleged misappropriation of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, which is being presided over by judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, is set to kick off at 9.30am.

The defence will cross-examine Ambank Remittance Centre’s Rentas (real-time electronic transfer of funds and securities) Unit manager Wedani Senen.

Wedani, the 24th witness, confirmed Tuesday that a total of RM4 billion was transferred from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) account to SRC International’s Ambank account between August 2011 and March 2012.

Relying on Rentas documents, among others, she said that RM2 billion was transferred to SRC International on Aug 29, 2011 in four transactions.

Another RM2 billion was transferred into the same account on March 28, 2012 in a single transaction.

On the same day, Nazlan allowed an application from the prosecution to begin proceedings at 9.30am today due to hearing at a separate court relating to Najib’s 1MDB trial.

The separate High Court, presided over by judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, is set to hear the prosecution’s bid to postpone the 1MDB trial so that it will not clash with the current hearing.

Previously, the 1MDB trial was fixed to begin on May 14.

The court also previously heard testimony from 23rd witness Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah on how he received RM2.5 million from Najib, via law firm Zulqarnain & Co, to gather political intelligence.

Habibul, a member of Najib’s inner circle, said the money was for “political defence operations, used (to obtain) political intelligence and political goodwill.”

[More to follow]

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