KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 14): Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief executive officer (CEO), Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, told the High Court that he had witnessed former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak signing the company's shareholder's resolution before the company's directors' circular resolution (DCR) was tabled.
Testifying in the trial in which Najib is facing four counts of abuse of power and 21 money-laundering charges involving 1MDB, Hazem said normally after receiving the directive, he as the CEO would table it to the board of directors first to ensure there was governance.
"What would happen [was] that the general counsel – legal Jasmine Loo would prepare the DCR and sometimes the shareholders' resolution would be shown to me first before it [was] presented to the board of directors.
"This [showed] that whatever planning came from [was] agreed by Najib. At times, Najib would sign shareholders' resolutions first before the DCR [was] signed by the board of directors and this showed that the directive came from Najib.
"The shareholders' resolution [was] not dated and it would be dated later after the board approved the DCR. This made me confident to proceed with Low Taek Jho's (Jho Low) directive as it [showed] that Najib [had] given the initial approval," he said in replying to questions from deputy public prosecutor Mustafa P Kunyalam.
Witness 'certain' Jho Low was mastermind
Hazem said that he had at times questioned the need to comply with Jho Low's instructions but was told by Najib's principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias, to follow the Penang-born businessman's instructions as he was Najib's right-hand man.
As the CEO, he said he felt pressured and questioned the investments and the loans taken by the company.
"I was worried that there [were] a lot of external debts and [was concerned over] the company's ability to repay them. I was concerned there was also no control of the movement of the foreign funds secured overseas from financial institutions as Jho Low had instructed Loo and then [chief financial officer] Terence Geh to raise funds and manage the investments overseas," he added.
Hazem advised the board to bring the money home at the end of 2014. His suggestions, which he put forward to 1MDB's then chairman Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and Najib, were shot down by the former premier, despite the fact that the fund had to repay RM2.5 billion owed to Maybank.
"I felt that something [was] not right, and I did not report this to the authorities as I respected and feared Najib despite feeling that the decision went against commercial ethics, as the company needed funds.
"I am certain that Jho Low [was] the mastermind of all these, but I did not know that he would abuse the company's funds overseas until I read Sarawak Report, The Edge, and the DOJ (US Department of Justice)," he said.
This led to Hazem concluding that the business plan, which had been drawn up by Jho Low, as well as his directives to the board of directors — which they initially thought were for the benefit of 1MDB — had caused the funds to be abused as the board did not have control or access to the funds, which were channelled abroad.
Hazem will continue giving his testimony before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah tomorrow.
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