Ex-SRC director Ismee denies pressured to implicate Najib in corruption trial

Kenneth Tee
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 18, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers did not exert any pressure to force Tan Sri Ismee Ismail to implicate Datuk Seri Najib Razak for corruption amid the former prime minister’s ongoing trial involving alleged abuses at SRC International Sdn Bhd, the High Court heard today.

Ismee, who is the prosecution’s witness, was asked by Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if he had been coerced into giving his statement implicating the sole shareholder of SRC International, who was at that time Najib.

Shafee: In the course of interrogation by the police and MACC, you were asked to implicate the sole shareholder of SRC that would be MoF Inc?

Ismee: No, I don't think so.

Shafee: There were no such attempts?

Ismee: No, no.

Shafee: Had the MACC told you that you had committed some offence, indirectly?

Ismee: I don’t think so. [Brief pause] Throughout the course of the investigation, I was questioning myself, did I do anything wrong here?

Ex-SRC International director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex June 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

SRC International was the wholly-owned subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is in turn owned by the Finance Ministry’s Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc), of which Najib was minister then.

Under Shafee’s cross-examination, Ismee also denied that the MACC officials had treated him harshly or coerced him during investigations into several other graft-related cases.

But, he confirmed that he was blacklisted from traveling overseas and had two bank accounts frozen by the authorities.

Asked why his account would be frozen, Ismee said he thought it could have been due to a fee he received when he was a director at SRC International.

The former Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) chief executive also revealed that he was also previously questioned about the use of TH's funds for politically linked activities, and that he had misrepresented information to the Tabung Haji board pertaining to the sale of an oil palm estate in Indonesia in 2012 and 2013.

Ismee also said he would not have accepted a position in SRC International had he known what was going on.

Later during re-examination, Ismee said members of the SRC International board would either have to step down or face the axe if they had refused to follow Najib’s instructions.

He also agreed with ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram's question that all advice provided by Najib to SRC International needed to be implemented "if they were not illegal".

Sithambaram: In short, can this board consider and implement financial decisions or investments independently from the prime minister?

Ismee: No.

Sithambaram: Were you in a position to ignore it (the advice of prime minister)?

Ismee: At that point in time, I don't think so.

Ismee is the 39th prosecution witness of Najib’s ongoing trial involving seven charges of abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money-laundering over RM42 million of SRC International’s funds.

The trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes at 9am tomorrow.

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