KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — A former Finance Ministry officer told the High Court today that orders came repeatedly from Datuk Seri Najib Razak to expedite a federal guarantee of SRC International’s Sdn Bhd’s first RM2 billion loan in 2011.
Maliami Hamad, formerly the secretary of the ministry’s Loan Management, Financial Market and Actuary Division, testified during Najib’s trial that the instructions came verbally via then Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah and Najib’s ex-aide Datuk Azlin Alias.
Najib was both prime minister and finance minister at the time.
“For the preparation of the Cabinet memorandum, I was under pressure to expedite the document’s preparation to be presented to the Cabinet on August 17, 2011.
“Time was limited,” he said in his witness statement here.
Maliami added that apart from Azlin and Wan Abdul Aziz, similar instructions were communicated to him by SRC International.
“I know for a fact that instructions from Wan Abdul Aziz came from Najib and I believe Azlin’s instruction also came directly from Najib.
“The preparation instructions were issued to ensure the memorandum is prepared immediately for the Cabinet’s approval within the same week,” he said.
He explained that instructions from SRC International were provided when Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who was the company’s managing director at that time, visited the Finance Ministry to obtain a government guarantee on August 12, 2011.
Asked whether it was normal for a company to approach him, Maliami replied in the affirmative and said that Nik Faisal had called ahead to seek an appointment for a meeting.
Maliami added that he also transmitted the same instructions and duress to his subordinates including Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz, the ministry’s strategic investment department deputy secretary.
Afidah, the prosecution’s 41st witness, previously testified that she was instructed to prepare the internal memo and a Cabinet memorandum on the same day to be included for the Cabinet’s consideration on August 15, 2011.
She said she was informed by Maliami the need to expedite as it was the “prime minister’s company”.
Maliami said that the completed document were then submitted to former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who signed it on August 15 before it was subsequently presented and approved by Cabinet on August 17.
“Normally, the memorandum is brought to the Second Finance Minister, but the directive given was to give it to Nor who would table the memorandum.
Later, SRC International also requested for a second government guarantee dated January 30, 2012 for another RM2 billion loan in addition to the RM2 billion granted by the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) the previous year.
However, Maliami said the government had urged KWAP to disburse the RM2 billion loan to SRC International, months before the government guarantees were issued and the necessary documentation process began with the preparation of a Cabinet memorandum.
The memorandum prepared by Afidah, was tabled and approved at a Cabinet meeting on February 8, 2012.
“At that time the government guarantee was not prepared yet and a letter of guarantee dated March 11, 2012 was made as SRC needed the funds immediately.
“This is the first time that an entity issuing the loan has to come give the funds first before the government guarantee is issued,” he said.
Najib is on trial for seven money laundering and criminal breach of trust charges over RM42 million in SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.