Tuesday, September 24

Najib gives instruction through middleman to approve RM2 billion loan to SRC

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here yesterday was told that instruction to expedite the process of preparing the Cabinet Memorandum (MJM) for the issuance of a government guarantee letter over the approval of the first loan of RM2 billion to SRC International Sdn Bhd came from former Prrime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak through a middleman.

Former Finance Ministry Loan Management, Financial Market and Actuary Division secretary Datuk Maliami Hamad said he was pressed to prepare the said MJM for tabling at the cabinet meeting on Aug 17, 2011.

“Time was short. The instruction to expedite preparation of the MJM not only came from SRC, but also Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, who I knew received instruction from Najib.

“I also received the same instruction from now deceased Datuk Azlin Alias, who was then the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary.

“I believe that the instruction by Datuk Azlin Alias came direct from the prime minister,” he said when reading out his witness statement in the corruption trial involving Najib, who is charged with seven counts of misappropriation of SRC funds totalling RM42 million.

Maliami, who is the 43rd witness said the instructions he received were verbal to ensure the MJM was prepared immediately for cabinet approval during the same week.

“All the instructions and pressure that I got, I handed down to my subordinates. I also instructed Puan Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz (Finance Ministry Strategic Investment deputy division secretary) to ensure the papers for the MJM were prepared for consideration and signed by Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop on the same day so that it could be submitted to the Cabinet Division of the Prime Minister’s Department on the same day, which was Aug 15, 2011,” he said.

Maliami, 65, said after the MJM papers were completed, the draft was submitted to (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop for his consideration and he signed it on Aug 15, 2011.

He said the MJM was tabled and approved by the cabinet on Aug 17, 2011 and the government guarantee letter, dated Aug 26, 2011, was signed by the then Finance Minister II, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, to finance the loan from Kumpulan Wang Persaraan Diperbadankan (KWAP) to SRC, totaling RM2 billion.

Maliami said the second application for a government guarantee letter by SRC was made on Jan 27, 2012, when SRC board went to the Finance Ministry to discuss the urgency of the letter.

Maliami said during the preparation of the MJM for both the guarantee letters, he was asked by his subordinate (Afidah Azwa) on the urgent need for the ministry to prepare them.

“The reason being that Puan Afidah Azwa did not have enough time to verify the information received from SRC for inclusion into the MJM which was being prepared for tabling to the cabinet.

“I informed Puan Afidah Azwa that the instruction from Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz to me was to expedite it because SRC was given special attention by the prime minister himself and there was urgent need for the fund,” he added.

He said prior to that, the normal procedure was for the MJM to be brought to the Finance Minister II for consideration and to be signed.

“However, for the second MJM, it was brought directly to the Prime Minister, who was also Finance Minister, for consideration and to be signed,” he added.

Najib, 66, is facing three charges of criminal breach of trust, one charge of power abuse and three counts of money laundering involving SRC funds totalling RM42 million.

The hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues today. — Bernama