Ex-SRC director agrees board briefing about sending RM1.8b abroad a ‘farce’ as money had left country anyway

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin agreed with the defence’s suggestion that a board briefing by its former managing director and chief executive officer held in September 2011 about the transfer of RM1.8 billion abroad was a ‘farce’ as the money had been remitted overseas the month before.

During cross-examination today, the 42nd prosecution witness agreed with defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh’s contention that the briefing was for show and thus, Nik Faisal’s claim that the instruction to transfer the cash out came from the ‘higher-ups’ – whom the previous witnesses, former SRC chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail had identified as Datuk Seri Najib Razak – was immaterial as the money had already left the country.

The witness, who was on the stand for the fourth continuous day, also testified that like Ismee, he did not know about the existence of SRC’s secret AmBank account with the numbers ending 736 opened by Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, former CEO of the company’s parent 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The signatories of that account were Nik Faisal and Shahrol Azral.

The 68-year-old former civil servant further testified that he did not know that the RM2 billion loan given by Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) in late August 2011 was deposited in the 736 account and that RM1.8 billion was transferred abroad a day later to Switzerland and Hong Kong.

This was before the matter was raised and approved by the board on September 13, 2011.

Ismee had testified earlier that Nik Faisal told the board that he met Najib on September 7, 2011, during which the then prime minister had allegedly told him to transfer the amount abroad to obtain higher returns on the loan money, and this was reflected in the board's minutes dated September 13, 2011.

The witness, however, said he could not remember if SRC’s former CEO and MD had showed the minutes of his meeting with Najib to the board.

Suboh was also shown what appeared to be his signature on the transfer form of the RM2 billion second loan from KWAP after SRC obtained the funds in March, 2012.

He admitted it was his signature, but he could not remember the details.

The former SRC director also told the High Court that Nik Faisal was maintained as an executive director of SRC in 2014, despite losing the CEO's post as he was tasked with bringing back the money from the KWAP loan.

Suboh also defended his witness statement – which said Najib wielded influence in SRC – as his own words.

He was shown witness statements made by him and Ismee by the defence, who pointed out alleged similarities and said they could have been put there by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

“No those were my own words. I dictate it and it was read back to me in my next meeting,” said the witness disagreeing with the lawyer.

The portion in question said: “All the SRC board of directors were appointed by the Prime Minister at that time, who was Datuk Seri Najib. The SRC board would act on the advice of the PM who is the advisor emeritus to SRC”.

Hearing continues on Monday (July 8) with Suboh continuing his testimony before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Najib, who is the highest ranking Malaysian politician to ever be charged, is facing trial to seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power in terms of RM42 million SRC funds between December 26, 2014 and Feb 10, 2015.