KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the High Court yesterday that perhaps it was his mistake to have ‘listened’ to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in matters relating to the sovereign wealth fund.
Shahrol Azral, 49, was questioned by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during cross-examination, whether he has a fiduciary duty to the former premier, to which the witness replied, “Yes”.
The witness was then asked by the counsel to produce any document stating that he owed a fiduciary duty to the chairman of the board of advisers (Najib).
Muhammad Shafee: Do you know that your fiduciary duty is only owed to 1MDB, as a company, not even to the shareholder? This is the law.
Shahrol Azral: I do not know.
Muhammad Shafee: Can you show me any document stating that you owe a fiduciary duty to the chairman of the board of advisers?
Shahrol Azral, however, was not able to produce the document.
Muhammad Shafee: …because you don’t understand the concept of company law, I put it to you that you have messed up your line of authority.
Shahrol Azral: Perhaps I was wrong in considering that I should listen to Datuk Seri Najib on all matters on 1MDB.
The counsel then asked the witness if Najib had ever asked him to only listen to the board of advisers and not report to the board of directors.
“No, he never. If I may add he also never said “Shahrol (Azral), listen to the board only, don’t listen to me”,” the witness said.
Muhammad Shafee then referred the witness to minutes of meeting in October 2009, which stated Najib as chairman of the board of advisers.
Sifting through the documents of minutes, Shahrol Azral said it was prepared by the fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
Muhammad Shafee: Jho Low seems to know what the PM wants to say.
Shahrol Azral: Yes, it is interesting isn’t it?
Najib, 66, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The hearing before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today. — Bernama