KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22): While Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had decided to remove Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as chief executive officer of SRC International Sdn Bhd amid complaints of financial misconduct, he remained as the mandate holder of the former prime minister’s accounts.
During cross-examination with ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram, Najib said he removed Nik Faisal from the post following complaints by SRC’s chairman at the time, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, that he was not a man of integrity.
Datuk Azlin Alias, Najib’s deceased former private secretary, had initially proposed for Nik Faisal to be the former premier’s mandate holder.
Najib said he thought Nik Faisal was “alright” due to a family connection and agreed that he had managed the account to his satisfaction at the time.
“When Tan Sri Ismee alerted or informed Azlin in August 2014 that Nik Faisal was not a man of integrity when it came to financial matters, did you find Tan Sri Ismee’s statement to be true?” asked Sithambaram.
“In relation to SRC, yes, which is why I changed [the CEO of SRC],” said the former premier.
“But did you change your mandate holder?” asked the prosecutor.
“No,” said Najib.
“You accepted that he was not a man of integrity when it came to SRC but you expected him to be a man of integrity for your account?” said Sithambaram.
“The bank didn’t alert me of anything wrong,” said Najib.
“The bank did not alert you, but Tan Sri Ismee alerted you of something wrong,” said Sithambaram.
“That was with regard to SRC, and not my account,” responded Najib.
Nik Faisal was Najib’s mandate holder for the latter’s AmBank accounts up until they were closed in 2015.
The former premier insisted that he never saw his bank statements at all and that the statements were sent to Nik Faisal, although Sithambaram argued that from 2011 to 2013, the statements were sent to the former premier’s Jalan Langgak Duta residence.
“These statements were sent to your house,” said Sithambaram.
“But I didn’t look at the statements,” said Najib.
“So, although these statements were sent to your house, you didn’t bother to open the statements to have a look?” asked the prosecutor.
“I do not recollect it being sent to my house,” said the former premier.
“Since you don’t recollect, it is possible that you may have seen the statements?” said Sithambaram.
“Maybe,” said Najib.
The prosecutor then moved to the RM2.6 billion Arab donation, which was deposited into the former premier’s account ending 694, and asked whether Najib had checked his account statement to see if the money was indeed transferred to his account.
Najib maintained that he did not check the bank statement but instead said he had been told that the donation was transferred into his account and he received official letters from the donor about the money.
“This is like someone winning the lottery but not looking at the lottery ticket!” said Sithambaram.
The prosecutor also put it to the accused that Nik Faisal had acted in Najib’s interests when funnelling SRC’s money through Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd into his accounts, which was why despite him being removed as CEO, he remained on the board of SRC.
Najib disagreed with the suggestion and said he is “not so stupid” to do something like this.
The former premier was testifying in his defence during his SRC trial, where he is accused of seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving a total of RM42 million SRC funds.
The Edge is reporting the proceedings of the SRC trial live.