SRC trial: Najib denounces ex-minister who claimed to be mere ‘office boy’

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 4, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak accused former second finance minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah of carrying a political vendetta when the latter testified he was effectively an “office boy” despite being the second finance minister previously.

Testifying in his defence at his own RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial, the former prime minister said Husni’s claims were contradicted by the latter’s response to the alleged treatment.

“If Datuk Husni had really said he was treated like a mere office boy, it is absurd to say so as he sought to remain in the Finance Ministry while harbouring such sentiments.

“There is a contradiction to what he has said to what actually took place. It is as though he was quite happy to be treated as an office boy,” he read from his prepared witness statement.

He called Husni’s claims comedic as there were official documents related to SRC International and 1Malaysia Development Berhad that bore his signature.

He said Husni was seeking to absolve himself of responsibility over SRC despite this being part of his duty then as a minister.

Najib also denied ever instructing Husni to keep from overseeing SRC International while he was the second finance minister, or stopping him from joining an envoy to Switzerland to supposedly assist in an issue concerning the company’s investments there.

He testified that Husni approved a Treasury Memo in November 2015 for a short term loan sought by SRC International.

“I believe Datuk Husni’s testimony carried intentions to smear me and had elements of grudges stemming from his dissatisfaction towards me,” said Najib before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

When asked why Husni would harbour such sentiments towards him, Najib testified that it could have been caused by his transfer from the Finance Ministry to the Economic Planning Unit, which preceded Husni’s resignation in 2016.

Najib said Husni then used the witness dock as a stage to retaliate.

“There are other instances, which I do not plan on revealing, reasons that clearly show his misinterpretation of my actions that caused deeper sentiments of vengeance towards me,” Najib read from his statement.

Husni was the prosecution’s 56th witness and had labelled Najib’s leadership as autocratic, going on to say how he felt sidelined to the level of an errand boy.

The former minister had testified that he was only required to sign documents concerning the formation of SRC International without his input being sought as a minister, and had confessed to duplicity in his 2016 media statements over his resignation to avoid “spoiling” the name of Najib.

Najib was ordered to enter his defence to 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, three counts of laundering the RM42 million, and another charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification the sum.

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