SRC directors visited Swiss bank to check if bulk of KWAP funds kept safe and secured, court told

Ex-SRC International director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Ex-SRC International director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — A former SRC International Sdn Bhd director told the High Court today the entire SRC International board of director visited Swiss-bank BSI (renamed EFG International) headquarters in September 2013 to seek confirmation if RM1.5 billion from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) deposited there were kept safe and secure.

Testifying in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial, Ismee said he personally felt comforted over the status of RM1.5 billion from the pension fund following meeting with the bank’s management at its headquarter in Lugano, Switzerland.

The money was part of the first tranche of RM2 billion loaned from KWAP in August 2011 to SRC International for the purposes of working capital and general investment.

“BSI is a big bank in Lugano, I was comforted.

“I did not physically see the money but the president of the bank and senior staff gave an overview of their financial institution, they gave us assurance that the money is still there,” he said during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusoff.

The board of director had then consisted of Ismee, Datuk Che Abdullah @Rashidi Che Omar, Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

He said the visit was initiated by “the management of SRC International” but was unsure whether the trip was approved by its shareholder, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

He also told the court that Nik Faisal had met Najib on September 7, 2011 where it was decided that RM1.5 billion was deposited in the Swiss bank, RM300 million in a Hong Kong bank and other RM200 million kept locally for SRC International’s operation expenditures.

“I am not sure if other directors were given a copy (minutes) but the decision by Najib and Nik Faisal was in the minute in our board meeting on September 13, 2011,” he said, adding that a copy of what transpired on September 7 was made available to him by Nik Faisal.

Najib’s lawyers Harvinderjit Singh and Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had questioned the authenticity of the minutes Ismee was made to verify in court, which were tendered in court for first time.

Harvinderjit had argued the photocopied documents were fake considering they were not the original copies, going on to argue it should not be accepted by the court as evidence.

High Court judge Mohd Nazlan then ruled the documents would need to be verified by the person who produced them or had seen the originals, first before it would be tendered in court as evidence.

Ismee is the 39th prosecution witness of Najib’s ongoing trial involving seven charges of abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering over RM42 million of SRC International’s funds.

During the course of the trial, witnesses have testified that KWAP gave a total of RM4 billion in loans in 2011 and 2012 to SRC International, with money allegedly flowing through other companies before being transferred into Najib’s accounts.

At the time of the first loan application, SRC International was the wholly-owned subsidiary of 1MDB which was owned by the Finance Ministry’s Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc); while SRC International was parked directly under MoF Inc by the time of the second loan application.

The trial with Ismee still on the witness stand, resumes at 9am tomorrow.