KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak today spent the entire morning disagreeing with Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on his involvement in everything that happened in SRC International Sdn Bhd.
He also disputed signatures on documents which showed he had sanctioned certain decisions involving the company.
Najib claimed the signatures could have been manipulated and cast doubt on their authenticity.
The former prime minister maintained that he had no knowledge of decisions made by the management of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoF)-owned company as he had never micro-managed it.
Najib, who is accused of misappropriating RM42 million of the company’s funds, was testifying from the witness stand during cross-examination by Thomas.
Today’s session started with Najib being questioned over his decision not to recuse himself from a cabinet meeting where the issue of a government guarantee for SRC International’s first RM2 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc. (KWAP) was discussed in August 2011.
Najib said there was no reason for him to have left the meeting as he did not have any personal interest in the company.
Thomas: I put it to you that you were hopelessly in conflict over this matter.
Najib: My answer is I totally disagree.
Thomas then put it to Najib that he alone was fully behind SRC International’s loan application but the latter again disagreed with the suggestion.
Thomas: You know that the entire RM2 billion loan was disbursed in an unusually speedy manner. I put it to you the speed of the disbursement was because of your involvement.
Najib: I disagree.
Thomas: This entire scheme was designed by you so that SRC International can get the RM2 billion cash.
Najib: I disagree.
Thomas: This whole scheme was to ensure SRC International gets hold of the RM2 billion.
Najib: I only agree that the government wanted to ensure SRC International had adequate funds for its operation.
The Pekan member of parliament said the process of tabling the cabinet paper to obtain government guarantee for the loan was because there were investment opportunities waiting for SRC International.
Thomas: I can understand that if something happens on Monday and the cabinet meeting is on Tuesday, then everybody has to burn the midnight oil. That is how governments all over the world and the corporate sector works. However, my question is what was the emergency in this case to rush a government guarantee to be issued.
Najib: SRC International was setup because there was a need for it as outlined in the national energy plan. This was also supported by the economic planning unit. They (SRC International) said there were investment opportunities and that is why we rushed it.
Thomas: So this whole thing of doing it in two or three days could only have been achieved because of your personal involvement in it.
Najib: Yes, because they asked for it.
Thomas: So you are personally culpable?
Najib: I disagree.
Later, Najib was questioned on what happened to the money given to SRC International and why it had been parked in Falcon Private Bank in Switzerland and Julius Baer Bank in Hong Kong.
Najib said it was not his decision to park the money there.
“As I have said before, I did not sign approvals for this. It was not my decision,” he said.
Thomas: Did you know where the money went?
Najib: No. I was only concerned with policy matters.
Thomas: Are you saying that after the money was given, you were not interested where it went and what SRC International did with the money?
Najib: This was operational matters… I did not get involved in the management of the company.
Earlier Najib also disagreed that SRC International was his company or ’Syarikat Perdana Menteri’ as a witness had previously described it.
He denied this after Thomas referred to the testimony of 41st prosecution witness Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz who was the Finance Ministry’s strategic investment division secretary.
Afidah had described SRC International as ‘Syarikat Perdana Menteri’ when she testified, and said this was so because everything was rushed in an extraordinary manner.
Najib: I disagree with that. The company has nothing to do with me.
On the second RM2 billion loan applied by SRC International, Najib was queried whether he had ever asked the company what happened to the first RM2 billion given to it.
To this, he said the company informed him that it had been set aside for investment purposes.
Thomas then asked him if that meant the money remained as cash in a bank.
However, Najib said he was not sure about that.
The trial continues this afternoon before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.