Witness: Najib said WSJ report on RM42m transfer into his personal account was damaging to his career

Kenneth Tee

Case witness Ung Su Ling is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on July 17, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The High Court was told today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was “very annoyed” by the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) report alleging the transfer of RM42 million into his personal bank account from SRC International Sdn Bhd between 2014 and 2015.

Former Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) chief executive Ung Su Ling who was testifying in the ex-prime minister’s trial on the misappropriation of SRC International’s funds added that Najib remarked that the July 2015 WSJ report on the alleged diversion of funds meant for corporate social responsibility programmes was damaging to his career and reputation when she met him later that year.

Ung was being cross-examined by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh when she revealed what transpired during her meeting with Najib following the WSJ expose.

Harvinderjit: My understanding was that Najib was shocked that this money was in his account from Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB)? He didn’t know the money was from IPSB?

Ung: I’m not sure that’s what he said. What he did say was that it was very damaging to his reputation and his career Yes, he said he didn’t know that this money was being transferred. But I don’t know or remember him saying that he didn’t know the money was from IPSB.

In its July 2015 report, the WSJ, citing documents from Malaysian investigators currently scrutinising the troubled 1MDB’s financials, claimed that the money trail shows that some US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) were moved between government agencies, banks and companies before it ended up in Najib’s accounts.

Among the alleged deposits were RM42 million from SRC International which was funnelled through IPSB, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of SRC International.

Harvinderjit: Did he express shock?

Ung: He was very annoyed.

Ung: I also apologised to him and I offered to resign from my position in YR1M as chief executive.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on July 17, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

During the trial, 37th prosecution witness and IPSB managing director Datuk Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman, told the court Najib was genuinely “shocked” after finding out someone had transferred RM42 million into his personal accounts through IPSB.

Dr Shamsul Anwar had also admitted that he only found out the source of the RM42 million from SRC International through its subsidiary — Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd — after reading an article published by the WSJ.

When re-examined by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram on whether Ung was aware of Dr Shamsul lodging any police report over the wrongful transfer of funds, Ung replied in the negative.

Ung’s remark matched that of Dr Shamsul Anwar who previously said he was not instructed by Najib to lodge a police report over the matter.

Ung is the prosecution’s 49th witness in Najib’s ongoing trial on alleged abuse of position, money-laundering and criminal breach of trust over RM42 million of funds from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

It was previously revealed in court that IPSB made cash transfers in three tranches of RM27 million and RM5 million on December 26, 2014 and RM10 million on February 10, 2015 into two AmPrivate Banking-MY accounts (2112022011-880 and 2112022011-906) belonging to Najib.

She previously testified that Najib’s ex-aide Datuk Azlin Alias had instructed her to inform IPSB to transfer RM42 million into Najib’s bank account in December 2014 and February 2015.

The three fund transfers were then recorded as “funds for CSR programmes”.

The hearing before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes tomorrow morning.

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