KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak denied explicit involvement in the formation of SRC International Sdn Bhd, while testifying in his defence today.
Reading from his witness statement, Najib said before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the formation was the purview of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
Despite SRC International’s Memorandum and Article of Association granting the prime minister exclusive powers to hire and fire as well as to decide the formation, he insisted he was not consulted prior to the formation.
“No. I was not referred to or explained to concerning the formation of SRC until only much later.
“After viewing the said documents of SRC’s formation, I found that the company was formed through B&M Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd and Lim Poh Seng who was also the 1MDB company secretary,” he read from his statement.
He said the powers granted to the prime minister under the firm’s constitution were not unusual. He said he was not told prior to its insertion.
He conceded that the policy, when read in isolation, would suggest overarching powers wielded by the prime minister over its governance. However, he said similar clauses existed in the constitutions of other government linked companies (GLC).
Najib’s defence produced a section of Petronas Berhad’s Memorandum and Articles of Association as an example.
Najib explained that such clauses allowed the prime minister to ensure the management of GLCs acted in accordance with government policies.
“Your honour, I wish to explain, as you can see the power of the prime minister in Petronas is more overarching compared to within SRC; that is the main point,” he said when explaining why a copy of the state oil company’s constitution was produced in court.
Najib also denied meeting SRC International’s first chief executive, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, and then shareholder Vincent Koh Beng Huat over matters related to the company.
He denied knowing the two were the sole shareholders of the company when it was formed.
“No, I have no knowledge about this matter. I also did not at any time met with either Nik Faisal or Vincent Koh Beng Huat concerning SRC.
“No, I do not know anything about this, and this matter is not consistent with what was shown to me by 1MDB,” he said referring to SRC International’s shares being transferred to be under 1MDB at the end of 2011.
Najib is testifying as the first witness in his defence of seven charges related to SRC International.
Three are for 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, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.
Najib’s defence trial will run from December 3 to 4, December 9 to 12 and December 16 to 19.