KUALA LUMPUR: The former chief executive (CEO) of SRC International Sdn Bhd, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, “played both sides”, leading to the company being ripped off, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
He said Nik Faisal told SRC board of directors one thing, and told him another when the latter briefed him about happenings in the company.
“We were played out by him…He briefed me about decisions made by the directors but at the same time he gave them instructions saying that I had approved certain decisions,” he said, referring to Nik Faisal who has been on the run since the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal broke.
Najib, who was testifying in his defence in the SRC International trial where he is accused of misappropriating RM42 million of the company funds, said he was never involved in micro-managing any of Ministry of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) companies, including SRC International.
He also expressed shock that the compan'sy top management, including its chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail had never bothered to verify things but blindly followed whatever was told to them by Nik Faisal.
“Ismee was an experienced person who had managed other governmen-linked companies (GLCs).
“He had my private mobile number and could have contacted me anytime. We also met several times but he never raised anything about what Nik Faisal told the board.”
During the course of his testimony today, Najib also touched on the donation which was banked into his personal accounts and later returned to the Saudi royal family.
Najib said he had instructed former principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias to return a huge sum of the unused donation to Tanore Finance Corporation in 2013.
He said US$620 million was returned to the corporation because fugitive businessmen Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low had confirmed that the Saudi royalty wanted it to banked in there.
“All this information was relayed to Azlin by Jho Low.
“The money was returned in tranches because we did not want to destabilise the Ringgit by converting a lump sum at one go,” he said.
On the management of his personal banking account, Najib explained that he was forced to appoint an authorised person to handle it because he was tied up with his official duties as prime minister, finance minister, Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman at that time.
He said all these responsibilities left him with no time to manage the accounts himself.
Najib will continue his testimony before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on Monday.
He is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of abuse of power over funds amounting to RM42 million linked to SRC International.
He is also facing three money laundering charges over the same fund. He faces up to 20 years in jail and fine for the offenses.