Ex-1MDB CEO: I messed up, might have been wrong to listen to Najib

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 29, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 29, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi admitted in High Court today that he might have erred by following former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s advice for decisions related 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) during his tenure as chief executive officer (CEO). 

Testifying against Najib in the latter’s 1MDB corruption trial, Shahrol was quizzed again by defence Counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on his fiduciary duty to the sovereign wealth firm. 

This time, Shafee had ask Shahrol whether he knew that his duty is to priorities the interests of the company above the interest Najib who at the time was the chairman of the of 1MDB board of advisers and its sole shareholder as the finance minister. 

Shafee: I put it to you because you didn’t understand basic company law, you have messed up your line of authority

Shahrol: Perhaps I was wrong to consider that Datuk Seri Najib was someone I had to listen to in executing all these duties related to 1MDB. 

Shafee: Have Datuk Seri Najib told you ‘Datuk Shahrol, I don’t care what the board says, you listen to me and not the board. 

Shahrol: No, he never, but if I may add he also never said listen to the board only and don’t listen to me.

Shafee then explained to Shahrol that Section 132 of the Companies Act had clearly stated a director’s fiduciary duty is to at all times exercise their powers for a proper purpose and in good faith in the best interest of the company. 

Shahrol then reiterated that he had a responsibility to answer to the former prime minister as he was the ultimate decision-maker in the company and reiterated that “Najib is 1MDB and 1MDB is Najib’’. 

Shafee, however, retorted, stating that such views were only self-imposed as no one had told Shahrol that 1MDB and Najib are one of the same entities. 

Earlier, Shafee had quizzed Shahrol over the transfer of US$700 million from 1MDB to Good Star Ltd, company investigators believed belonged to Low Take Jho or Jho Low.

Shahrol had reiterated today that he had not seek approval from 1MBD board of directors to transfer the funds to the Good Star Ltd as he was under immense deadlines to wrap up the deal and was at that time given the impression by Low that it was what Najib wanted. 

Shafee then asked whether Najib had directly asked Shahrol or any 1MDB senior officials to transfer the money to Good Star Ltd 

Shahrol answered no.

Shahrol also said he was unaware that Good Star Ltd had belonged to Low until 2018 when investigative authorities had shown him documented evidence.

He also reiterated several times that he was not in cahoot with Low to transfer the US$700 million to Good Star Ltd and insist that he was assured at the time by the Penang born financier and another 1MDB senior official Casey Tang that Good Star ltd belonged to PetroSaudi International Ltd.

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