Crime & Courts

Former SRC director says he doesn't know why government dropped suit against him

KUALA LUMPUR: Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the High Court today that he did not enter into any deal with the government to drop him as a defendant in the company's US$1.18 billion civil suit against him.

Shahrol Azral, testifying as a third party in SRC International's suit against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, said he had no knowledge why the company had struck him off from the list of defendants. "I do not know and I did not ask why I was dropped," he said when cross examined by Najib's counsel, Harvinderjit Singh.

Harvinderjit said the present case was filed by SRC International in May 2021, but later, a notice of discontinuance to drop the suit against Shahrol Azral was served. Shahrol Azral replied yes when Harvinderjit put to him that the civil action was discontinued at the time when he was giving evidence in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial.

Asked if he had resigned from SRC International because there was something fishy going on in the company, Shahrol Azral said no. In 2020, Shahrol Azral denied making a deal with the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) with the prosecution to testify against Najib to save his own neck.

He had said he had never been detained or remanded by any enforcement agency from the day the 1MDB scandal broke but was called to assist investigations as a witness in the case by police and MACC officers. Meanwhile, Shahrol Azral said Nik Faisal did not consult him about the RM4 million Retirement Fund Inc loan.

"He did not consult me but he told me after the fact that it was what was already decided or discussed with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or Jho Low."He told me this verbally.

"I took it that this had been discussed between the PMO and Nik Faisal. It looked like a direction they were working on and I did not have objections," he said, referring to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low. Shahrol Azral, however, said it was something the SRC International board should have deliberated on first, especially when 1MDB was supposed to be the guarantor for the RM4 billion loan and for SRC itself to look at financing avenues.

SRC, under its new management, filed the suit in May 2021, claiming that Najib had committed a breach of trust and power abuse, personally benefited from the company's funds and misappropriated the said funds.It also sought a court declaration that Najib is responsible for the company's losses due to his breach of duties and trust.

It also want Najib to pay back the RM42 million in losses that they have suffered.Najib, 70, has been serving a jail sentence at the Kajang Prison since Aug 23, 2022, after being convicted of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds.

He then filed a petition for a royal pardon on Sept 2, 2022.The Pardons Board in January reduced Najib's jail term from 12 years to six, with the fine cut to RM50 million from RM210 million.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin continues.

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