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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

SRC board never invited Najib for advice, court hears


SRC International Sdn Bhd has never invited its then adviser emeritus, Najib Abdul Razak, for advice on the running of the company, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard.

The company’s former director Suboh Md Yassin gave this testimony during its US$1.18 billion civil suit against the former prime minister cum finance minister over an alleged breach of duty over the utilisation of loans from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (Kwap).

Suboh was replying during cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah over the adviser emeritus role for SRC’s conventional and renewable energy business.

Shafee: Has the (SRC) board invited the prime minister (Najib) as adviser emeritus to seek his advice on anything?

Suboh: None that I recall.

Shafee: You agree that (invitation) is the way for the prime minister to advise the board?

Suboh: Yes.

Shafee: Why was the prime minister never invited to advise the board?

Suboh: He had confidence in Nik Faisal (Ariff Kamil, the then CEO of SRC).

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah

Previously, Suboh testified that certain protocols prevented the SRC board from directly contacting Najib and that Nik Faisal - currently at large and sought by Malaysian authorities for criminal investigations into SRC’s affairs - was a proxy of Najib.

He also previously testified that he was a mere “rubber stamp” in SRC and that Nik Faisal may have made misrepresentations to the board.

Najib appointed Suboh as SRC director on Aug 1, 2011, and the appointment lasted until March 4, 2019.

In this lawsuit presided over by judge Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin, Suboh is testifying on behalf of plaintiff SRC against defendant Najib.

Suboh is also giving oral evidence in the capacity of a third party brought into the lawsuit by Najib to fully or partly reimburse the former prime minister in the event that SRC wins the court action.

A separate criminal trial

He was also a prosecution witness in a separate criminal trial against Najib linked to RM42 million of SRC’s funds, which led to the ex-premier’s conviction. Najib is serving a six-year jail sentence and was fined RM50 million.

Under its new management, SRC filed the lawsuit in May 2021, alleging that Najib, as adviser emeritus of the plaintiff, had committed a breach of trust and abuse of power, and personally benefited from the company’s funds, as well as misappropriated billions of ringgit.

SRC, owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc), is also seeking a court declaration that the defendant is responsible for its losses due to a purported breach of duties and trust, and for Najib to repay RM42 million.

The plaintiff is also seeking a court order for Najib to be made accountable for the former’s US$1.18 billion loss and repay US$120 million of funds that allegedly flowed into the former finance minister’s bank account.

The civil action against Najib is linked to the alleged misappropriation of part of RM4 billion - RM3.6 billion or US$1.18 billion in foreign exchange rates between 2011 and 2012 - in loans that the company received from Kwap between 2011 and 2012.

Kwap is a statutory body under the Finance Ministry.

The trial before Fairuz resumes tomorrow. - Mkini

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