Ex-minister Husni Hanadzlah admits in court to covering up for Najib in 1MDB scandal

Former finance minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 6, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former finance minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 6, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah today confessed to duplicity in his 2016 media statements over his resignation as second finance minister, saying he did so to avoid “spoiling” the name of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Testifying as the prosecution’s 56th witness at Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd, Ahmad Husni said he concealed some of the truth because he feared his words may be manipulated to damage Najib’s reputation as both prime minister and first finance minister at that time.

The former five-term Tambun MP resigned from the Cabinet in June 2016 — at the height of the  1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal — under cross-examination from Najib’s lead lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the High Court.

Shafee: When you made the statement that you resigned and wanted to end your career as minister, you said you did not resign because of SRC International and 1MDB?

Ahmad Husni: You want me to respect the PM or not? Out of respect to the press, I mentioned that it had nothing to do [with SRC International or 1MDB].

Shafee: Did you not tell the press and those in your constituency that you resigned not because of 1MDB or SRC International, did you say that?

Ahmad Husni: I said that. 

Shafee: But, to most of the media, you said that it had nothing to do with 1MDB and SRC International, correct?

Husni: Yes

Shafee: When you said that, were you telling the truth?

Ahmad Husni: Part of the truth.

Shafee: Part is untrue?

Ahmad Husni: No, no, I said that I wanted to cover the real story. I apologise Yang Arif. I don’t want to tell the true story to newspapers, and I said I quit voluntarily, that will spoil the name of the PM. 

Shafee: It doesn’t matter what motivation you had, but when you told the public, you were not telling the truth?

Ahmad Husni: I am not telling the truth because I want to cover for the PM.  

During re-examination, Ahmad Husni related to Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan that he had expressed his grouses to Najib before resigning by addressing him in private.

To this, Muhammad Izzat pressed the former minister for his justification behind the decision not to voice his opinions at a more suitable forum, such as Cabinet meetings together with other federal ministers.

Muhammad Izzat: Why did you not raise your concerns in the Cabinet meeting and why you chose to speak in private?

Ahmad Husni: Like I have said, there are two options, I did not want controversy, and I was looking to protect the PM, that is why I chose to speak to him in private.

However, Ahmad Husni conceded that he had not made an official record of his meeting with Najib, stating how it was done verbally, and not in each other’s official capacities.

On Monday, Ahmad Husni testified how he penned a personal letter to Najib to expressed his grouses over investment decisions made by 1MDB, which was a wholly owned company under the Minister of Finance (Incorporated).

He had previously testified that how despite showing concern for the investments made by the sovereign wealth fund, and its subsidiary SRC International to Najib, the former prime minister had advised him to steer clear and not interfere with dealings involving 1MDB.

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