Ex-Treasury sec gen Irwan earned RM25,000 a month sitting on 1MDB’s advisory board, court told

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak being escorted from the Kajang Prison to the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on Monday (Nov 14). (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak being escorted from the Kajang Prison to the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on Monday (Nov 14). (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 14): Former Treasury secretary general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah told the High Court on Monday (Nov 14) that he received RM25,000 in monthly allowance for his capacity as a member of the board of advisors (BOA) of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), despite not having any meetings back then.

The prosecution's 42nd witness recounted this while testifying in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, where former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is facing 25 charges over misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of funds from the strategic development company.

Irwan testified that he had also received a lump-sum payment of RM221,774 as an "outstanding payment" for his services, before receiving the monthly allowance.

"Before I received the monthly allowance, I received a lump-sum payment of RM221,774 via a cheque in August 2013.

"I was informed that this payment was an outstanding payment to me as a member of 1MDB's BOA, since I held the position of the Treasury secretary general in August 2012 to August 2013," he testified.

Earlier, Irwan told the court that he was promoted to the position of the Treasury secretary general in August 2012.

'Payment continued in capacity as 1MDB chairman'

"I did not ask for this allowance, but rather this payment was made by 1MDB to me through a company cheque," he said.

Irwan further testified that he received the monthly allowance from 2013 until 2016, when the BOA was dissolved by the then PM himself, following Parliament's Public Accounts Committee investigations into 1MDB.

Even after the BOA was dissolved, Irwan said he continued to receive RM25,000 in monthly allowance for his capacity as the 1MDB chairman for a brief spell.

"After the BOA was dissolved, I received an allowance [in my capacity] as the 1MDB chairman — also amounting to RM25,000 per month — but in 2016, the payment was made in a 'lump sum' amounting to RM300,000. This payment was also made through a 1MDB cheque to me," he said.

'Never attended any meetings, but advice given unofficially'

Irwan also testified that since he was appointed as a member of the BOA, "he had never been called or received an invitation" to attend any meetings.

"For me, the meetings were never held because I never saw the BOA meeting minutes. Although [Najib] was the BOA chairman, he himself never informed me of any meetings regarding the BOA," he said.

He added that to his knowledge, the BOA was led by Najib. He and Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, formerly the chief secretary to the government, were also part of the board. He didn't know any of the other members who were appointed, as no meetings were held.

"I once asked [the chief secretary] whether or not there were BOA meetings, but [the chief secretary] answered that he also did not know, and was not invited to any meetings related to 1MDB's BOA since he was appointed," Irwan testified.

Following that, he never asked the chief secretary or Najib about the BOA meetings.

During his testimony, in reply to lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram's query, Irwan testified that although no official meetings were called, he had advised the former PM on 1MDB-related matters in his capacity as the Treasury secretary general, who oversaw Minister of Finance Inc (MOF Inc) companies.  

Sri Ram: Did you attend any [BOA] meetings?

Irwan: No, but I would like to add that although the BOA meetings were not called, [as I was] the Treasury secretary general and also [because] 1MDB was related to MOF Inc, there was advice given unofficially. Sometimes, he (Najib) listened, sometimes he [made] his own decisions.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Tuesday.

The Edge is covering the trial live here.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

Lee Weng Khuen