KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not want a second valuation be done on the assets of 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) joint venture partner, PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI), the High Courtm heard today.
Former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said a second valuation could have proved that there was "more downside than upside" to the deal.
Asked by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as to why details about PSI’s assets were concealed from the board, Shahrol replied: “It just did not come up”.
The ninth prosecution witness said at the time, Edward Morse was the only independent valuer for PSI’s assets and Najib, as the chairman of 1MDB board of advisers, had stated there was no need for a second valuation.
Shafee: So what does that mean? There was no second valuation?
Shahrol: It means that a second valuation was not preferred. My take from this is that he (Najib) did not prefer this.
Shafee: Did he explicitly say he did not want you to make a second valuation?
Shahrol: No, he did not say that.
The court then heard that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was described as "a fox taking care of chicken".
Shafee said this when the witness testified that he went back and forth between Najib, Low and the 1MDB board of directors.
Shahrol said after a meeting with Najib on Oct 16, 2009, he went to see Low to get the minutes of meeting and went back to the 1MDB board of directors.
Shafee: Was I wrong to say that Jho Low was (like) a fox taking care of chicken?
Shahrol: He was in a way facilitating the misappropriation from 1MDB. I think it may be worth to know that in 2016, Good Star Ltd (a company owned by Low) sent some money to Red Granite Pictures (a company owned by Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz).
Shafee: Why did you go to Red Granite? We will get to that later. Let’s concentrate on what you did. Do not get into anybody else’s problem.
Cross-examination before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.
Najib, 66, is charged with misappropriating RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds, money laundering and abuse of power.