In court, Najib distances self from SRC's financial woes

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaves the courtroom for a short recess during his trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaves the courtroom for a short recess during his trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak disassociated himself today from the financial predicament faced by SRC International Sdn Bhd after the bulk of its RM4 billion loan were frozen by Swiss authorities in 2013, saying full responsibility rests solely with the former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) unit.

Najib, on trial for allegedly siphoning RM42 million from the investment company, was testifying in his own defence under questioning from Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.

Najib told the High Court that SRC International's management was supposed to take action to repatriate the money that was deposited in Swiss-bank BSI (renamed EFG International) headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland after it was frozen over alleged money-laundering offences in 2013.

Thomas: You didn’t take any action to discover the sum of the money in Switzerland?

Najib: SRC was supposed to do that.

Thomas then proceeded to question Najib on whether he was shocked over what had transpired to the RM4 billion loan.

Thomas: With the extent and scope of your involvement in SRC, as advisor to the board and very instrumental in getting the government guarantee, weren’t you personally shocked as to what happened to the money?

Najib: We appointed SRC... (Najib's word trailed off)

Thomas (interjecting): SRC is not on trial, you are on trial!

The situation became tense, with Najib repeatedly insisting it was SRC International's role to take such measures to obtain the funds back and not him.

Thomas: My question was, weren't you personally shocked by what has happened to the RM4 billion loan?

Najib: Yes I was shocked, that is why we asked SRC. They hired their lawyers, if it cannot be solved, then action will be taken.

Thomas: Did you summon the five directors and cross examine and ask them where the money is?

Najib: I didn't summon the directors, I gave instructions to the directors for action to be taken.

Thomas: I put it to you that you did nothing to investigate. You took no steps to defend the government guarantee being called. There was no money in the consolidated fund. This was taxpayers’ money, but you did nothing!

Najib (raising his voice): Absolutely wrong! SRC was supposed to do it!

After things quietened down, Thomas intensified his cross examination by questioning Najib whether SRC International has become insolvent and thus unable to service its debt after he ceased being the prime minister in May 2018.

Thomas: What steps did you take to make sure the government guarantees were not called upon?

Najib: We wanted the money back...(his voice trailed off again)

Thomas (interjecting): But you did nothing.

Najib: I left it to the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) Department to handle the retrieval of the money through SRC.

Thomas: But you would agree that went you left office in May 2018, nothing was received when you ceased being PM.

Najib: Nothing came back doesn't mean the money is not there.

Thomas: You did nothing. Even when you left office in 2018, SRC was insolvent.

Najib (visibly agitated): But the money is there. I disagree that SRC is insolvent.

Thomas: I want to put to you that these RM4 billion loans from KWAP have totally disappeared.

Najib: No, I don't agree because we have to establish that the funds are in Switzerland and how much is there.

Thomas: I put to you that all the money has been spent. It had to be written off because it was misspent.

Najib: I disagree but I want to know the truth.

When suggested by Thomas that the loans were “scandalous” and rendered non-performing, Najib retorted by saying he disagreed and a conclusion has yet to be reached on that matter.

Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

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.



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