KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today denied expediting the process which resulted in the RM4 billion loans and subsequent government guarantees from the Malaysian government being granted to SRC International Sdn Bhd between 2011 and 2012.
Najib, who is currently on trial for siphoning RM42 million from SRC International and testifying in his own defence under cross-examination from ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, however, admitted to being involved in the process of securing the RM2 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP).
Sithambaram: You played a major and pertinent role in securing and speeding up the loan and government guarantee. Agree or disagree?
Najib: I played a part but I wouldn’t say I expedited it, no.
Later Najib maintained his stance and disagreed when suggested he had a personal interest in SRC International, despite Sithambaram pointing out how some RM42 million from the former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) unit had made its way into his personal bank accounts based on evidence tendered in court.
Najib also denied he was oblivious to SRC International’s operational matters and how some RM3.6 billion meant for ‘investment purposes’ had ended up overseas in Switzerland until he left office in 2018.
He said ‘sporadic’ meetings between him and former SRC International chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil took place where he claimed he was kept abreast of the company’s latest development.
Sithambaram: What did he (Nik Faisal) tell you?
Najib: That they were looking for investments and claimed they could fulfill all of their objectives.
Sithambaram: If they keep saying that without concrete development, did that prompt you to ask what is actually happening in SRC?
Najib: They said everything was doable.
Najib later explained that when the return of investment did not materialise as promised, he took the initiative to replace Nik Faisal as chief executive.
“The CEO is the main implementor of the main decisions of the board.
“I decided that the CEO must go, I knew there was something wrong with it (SRC International),” he said.
Sithambaram then suggested that Najib had maintained Nik Faisal as a board director despite removing him as chief executive because they were in cahoots to transfer SRC funds into Najib’s bank accounts.
To this, Najib said he totally disagreed with the suggestion.
Najib has been called to enter his defence to answer 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.