Tuesday, September 24

‘Najib signed draft memo concerning SRC transfer on car bonnet’  

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Najib (front) seen outside the court. Bernama Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here heard yesterday that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak signed a draft memorandum concerning the transfer of SRC International Sdn Bhd on the bonnet of a car.

Datuk Mat Noor Nawi, the former deputy secretary-general (policy) at the Ministry of Finance, said he had met Najib outside the waiting hall at the Royal Malaysian Air Force airport in Subang on Feb 3, 2012 to get his signature on the memorandum related to the transfer of SRC from its parent company and government investment arm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to Minister of Finance (Incorporated), a corporate body established under the ministry.

Mat Noor, 64, appeared as the 44th witness for the prosecution in the trial of Najib, 66, who faces three charges of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abuse of power and three charges of money laundering in connection with SRC funds totalling RM42 million.

He told the court that the car carrying the prime minister had stopped outside the hall from which he (Mat Noor) exited to meet Najib, who studied the contents of the memorandum while standing by the side of the car.

After studying all four pages of the memorandum, Najib signed the document and made notes on the first page while placing it on the bonnet of the car, Mat Noor told deputy public prosecutor Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim, adding “it was there that he signed the memorandum”.

Mat Noor said that prior to the meeting with Najib at the airport, he had been informed by 1MDB officer Zahid Taib that the prime minister wished to see the draft documentation concerning the SRC transfer.

In response to Suhaimi’s question on who exactly Zahid was, Mat Noor explained that the latter held the position of government  liaison officer, served as the go-between for 1MDB in many matters and had also had many dealings with Mat Noor during the deputy secretary-general’s tenure at the Economic Planning Unit.

Mat Noor also said that at the time of the meeting with Najib at the airport, Zahid was standing near him (Mat Noor).

The court heard from Mat Noor that to his surprise, Najib had read every paragraph of the draft memorandum before signing the first page of the draft which did not bear the letter head of Mat Noor’s office, nor did it bear the stamp of the Prime Minister in his capacity as Finance Minister.

Mat Noor also said that before signing the document, Najib had made notes indicating his agreement to the transfer proposal.

Owing to the fact that the document did not bear the official stamp, Mat Noor said he returned to his office to meet with Finance Ministry senior private secretary Datuk Sheikh Mohd Fuzi for the purposes of receiving the Prime Minister and Finance Minister’s stamp.

Prior to that, Mat Noor had already submitted to Sheikh Mohd the original draft memorandum which was undated and did not bear a letter head, as well as another draft which had the letter head of Mat Noor’s office.

In response to another question, Mat Noor said that to his knowledge, the transfer of SRC from 1MDB to MOF Inc took place without due diligence having been undertaken.

When pressed by Suhaimi that it was a requirement that due diligence be carried out by the end of 2012 for the purposes of determining the actual worth of the government’s investment into SRC, Mat Noor reiterated that until he was transferred from his post in November 2012, he was not aware of any such exercise having been conducted, and he did not know why this was the case.

Hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues today. – Bernama