Najib (second from right) arriving in court for the trial. Photo by Patrick Goh
KUALA LUMPUR: Former SRC International Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail concurred with Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyers that the board, which he had chaired from August 2011 to August 2014, was never informed by former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi about an earlier account opened by the company on January 2011.
During his testimony on the 23rd day of the former premier’s SRC trial involving RM42 million at the High Court here yesterday, defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh showed the witness documents pertaining to the AmBank Islamic account ending 736 that was opened in January 2011 by Shahrol Azral.
He agreed with the lawyer that although the account was opened by the former 1MDB CEO — who was also a board member of SRC — neither he nor the other board members were notified about it by Shahrol Azral or Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, former managing director (MD) and CEO of SRC, during its first board meeting on Aug 23, 2011.
“Shahrol Azral did not inform us (the SRC board) of the earlier account,” said Ismee, who is the former SRC chairman.
The witness agreed with Harvinderjit that both Shahrol Azral and Nik Faisal should have told the board of the account’s existence on its first board meeting that day.
On Aug 1, 2011 Ismee — along with other board members including Shahrol Azral — was appointed as SRC director.
He was also made chairman of the board on the same day.
These appointments took place while 1MDB was gaining ownership of SRC, seven months after its formation by Nik Faisal and Vincent Koh Beng Huat.
Witness stunned by KWAP money movement revelations
The witness was stunned by documents detailing the transfer of the first RM2 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) into the secret bank account ending 736, and not SRC’s other AmBank Islamic account ending 650 — which the board knew about.
His surprise grew upon learning — at that very moment — that the loan monies were also transferred out of the first bank account without the board’s knowledge.
The witness was under the impression that all the transactions were done through the 650 account.
Throughout yesterday’s session, Najib’s defence team tried to shift the blame on Nik Faisal and Shahrol Halmi.
His defence had claimed that the former premier did not know the money entering into his account was from SRC.
The former premier is charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power involving the RM42 million which is broken into three tranches of payment of RM27 million and RM5 million on Dec 26, 2014 and RM10 million on Feb 10, 2015.
Earlier testimonies from other witnesses showed that the RM42 million Najib is accused of embezzling originated from SRC’s 650 account.
During the afternoon session, Ismee was also shown the discrepancies between ID499 — which were the minutes of the meeting between Nik Faisal and Najib dated Sept 7, 2011 — and the board minutes on Sept 13, 2011 over a proposed investment into Indonesia.
While Ismee noted that these were minor inconsistencies, Harvinderjit considered them to be relevant.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today.