KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had agreed to the appointments of Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil in SRC International Sdn Bhd as they were selected by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the High Court heard today.
Testifying as the first defence witness in his RM42 million SRC International corruption trial, Najib said he had no reason to disagree when 1MDB suggested both men around August 2011.
1MDB through its then chief executive Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had then recommended Ismee as the SRC International’s board chairman and Nik Faisal the chief executive cum managing director.
“I approved of their appointments based on the fact that the 1MDB board as the parent company of SRC have chosen these individuals. I have no reason to disagree with it,” he said in his witness statement.
Najib said he knew Ismee who was among the board of several government-linked companies at that time including Tabung Haji while Shahrol and Nik Faisal were part of 1MDB’s senior management.
However, Najib said he disagreed with the appointment of Nik Faisal and Vincent Koh Beng Huat as directors during the early days of SRC International as he was not informed of the matter and never approved of anything related to it.
According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) records, SRC International was founded on January 7, 2011, as a private company limited by shares; among other things, the company deals with resources used in generating electricity.
In CCM documents, Nik Faisal was revealed as also holding the post of chief investment officer in SRC International, while the only other company director Vincent Beng Huat Koh was appointed investment director.
Of the seven charges he was asked to enter defence, Najib is accused of committing three counts of criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.
The hearing resumes before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali tomorrow.