SRC trial: Najib paints Nik Faisal as mastermind

Kenneth Tee
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 — SRC International Sdn Bhd chief executive Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was duplicitous in managing SRC International Sdn Bhd, Datuk Seri Najib Razak testified in his defence at the High Court today.

Taking the stand as the first defence witness in his RM42 million SRC International corruption trial, Najib rejected testimony from former SRC International directors Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Suboh Md Yassin about Nik Faisal being the intermediary between him and the company.

“Absolutely untrue. This is not how a Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) company is managed and SRC is not an exception.

“I am sure I have never ordered the board in any way as I am not in a position to micro-manage any MoF Inc companies including SRC.

“At most SRC was one of the companies involved in projects concerning national interest. There was no reason for me to order the board to go through Nik Faisal,” he said in his witness statement.

In their testimony, Ismee and Suboh both said the board’s decision required Najib’s approval, and instructions from Najib would be relayed through Nik Faisal.

Najib said in his limited meetings with Nik Faisal, the latter had only informed him of the board’s decision on various investments following discussions with outside negotiators.

“It is clear that Nik Faisal has played both sides. To me he said matters have been decided by the board and to the board he said I have given such orders to be followed,” he said.

Najib also singled out Ismee, whom he described as ignorant over the latter’s failure to confirm the matter with him directly and for simply accepting Nik Faisal at face value.

“Tan Sri Ismee, as I have mentioned before is a corporate leader with vast experience in the management of GLCs.

“He (Ismee) has my personal number to contact and we have met several times before. Never was I asked once about what he (Nik Faisal) told the board,” he said.

Ismee previously told the court he resigned three years after being appointed as a director in August 2011 after failing to accept Nik Faisal’s corporate practices, including the latter’s exclusive link between the company’s board of directors and Najib who was its advisor emeritus.

Of the seven charges he was asked to enter his defence, Najib is accused of committing 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, and a separate charge of abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

For the remaining three charges, he is accused of laundering RM42 million.

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