KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — SRC International Sdn Bhd received special attention from then prime minister and was in desperate need for funding when two government guarantees were granted to the company between 2011 and 2012, the High Court was told during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial today.
The ministry’s Loan Management, Financial Market and Actuary Division former secretary Maliami Hamad testified that these were the reasons given to his subordinate when confronted over the need to expedite the preparation of a Cabinet memorandum.
The memorandum concerns the granting of the government guarantees for a total of RM4 billion loan SRC International obtained from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).
“I was questioned by my subordinate Afidah Azwa on why the Finance Ministry needed to quicken the process as she did not have sufficient time to verify information provided by SRC International before they were included into the memorandum.
“I told her the instruction I received came from then Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah who said SRC received special attention from the PM himself and the company was in desperate need of funding,” he said in his witness statement here.
Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz, who is 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 by Maliami.
At that time, Najib was the prime minister and also held the portfolio of finance minister.
Maliami also said that SRC International’s application for a government guarantee for the first RM2 billion loan from KWAP was merely one paragraph, in a letter provided by SRC International chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil dated June 3, 2011.
Also attached to the letter was Najib’s handwritten note, where he said to then KWAP chief executive Datuk Azian Mohd Noh that he agreed with SRC International’s proposal and signs it off.
“At the time, the information given to me was limited and that the paragraph was insufficient to be presented in a paper to the Cabinet.
“The letter only had two things: Terms of the loan and justification for the loan, which was only one paragraph. This was not enough to be presented to the cabinet.
According to Maliami, the justification merely reads out as “the purpose of the government guarantee is to ensure continued energy resources in the period for this country to ensure the country’s development”.
He also said Datuk Azlin Alias also got himself involved to hasten the process to prepare the Cabinet memorandum as the latter presented himself as a person who could fix any administrative issues.
“Azlin asked about the status and if there is a problem he would assist.
“In this context, the involvement of Datuk Azlin was to help Finance Ministry officers to prepare the Cabinet paper, within hours. If there is a problem, he said he could help.
“This includes the first (Cabinet) paper for the first government guarantee in SRC International’s application,” he said, adding that Azlin also promised to iron out the matter if insufficient information on issues related to Cabinet approval were present.
Azlin was Najib’s ex-aide. He and five others had died in an April 2015 helicopter crash in Semenyih.
Later Maliami said he has never experienced anything similar with SRC International’s government guarantee request throughout his seven years of in the Finance Ministry.
“I remember receiving a call from my superior, then Treasuary secretary-general Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah requesting for the second RM2 billion loan from KWAP to SRC International to be disbursed on the day.
“I was then asked to sign the letter despite it being an unusual practice. He said the withdrawal has to be done immediately as the PM has asked to do so,” he said.
Earlier Maliami said he was asked to sign a letter requesting KWAP to disburse the RM2 billion loan amount to SRC International before the issuance of the government guarantee in 2012.
During the course of the trial, witnesses have testified that KWAP granted a total of RM4 billion in loans in August 2011 and March 2012 to SRC International, with money allegedly flowing through other companies before being transferred into Najib’s accounts.
Najib is currently standing trial for seven money laundering and criminal breach of trust charges over RM42 million in SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali with Maliami’s cross-examination will resume at 9am tomorrow.