Witness in the dark about source, beneficiary of funds

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

A WITNESS in Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial said he would not have transferred RM42 million if he knew that it would go into the former prime minister’s (PM) private bank accounts.

Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd MD Datuk Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that he was excluded from full disclosure of the source of the funds credited into Ihsan Perdana, including who the recipients were, despite efforts that were made to seek the information.

Dr Shamsul Anwar testified that Ihsan Perdana, SRC’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) partner, was instructed by Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) CEO Ung Su Ling and its project director Dennis See Thuan Buan to transfer the funds to two accounts with AmBank Group.

I had to follow directives from Ung and See because they were funders of Ihsan Perdana, says Dr Shamsul Anwar

“I had to follow directives from Ung and See because they were funders of Ihsan Perdana.

“As far as I could remember, Ung and See ordered me to transfer the funds to AmPrivate Banking-1MY and AmPrivate Banking-MY accounts even though I did not know who the owner of the funds was,” Dr Shamsul Anwar told the court on the 18th day of the trial yesterday.

“I was only informed by Ung that monies were credited into Ihsan Perdana’s account. I did ask Ung many times via telephone and face to face.

“But, she did not tell me about the source of the funds. I also enquired See on the matter, but he told me that I do not need to know about the account holder of AmPrivate Banking-1MY and AmPrivate Banking-MY,” he added.

The prosecution’s 37th witness testified that he only knew about the source of the RM42 million funds was from SRC, via its unit Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, after he had read an article published by The Wall Street Journal, while he was in Belgium in July 2015.

The former ED of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s CSR division also told the court that he asked the former SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil about the source of the RM42 million.

He said Nik Faisal confirmed that SRC had transferred the money to Ihsan Perdana through Gandingan Mentari.

Dr Shamsul Anwar also said he believed that Ung and See might receive directives from the late Datuk Seri Azlin Alias, the former principal private secretary to the former PM.

Earlier, he testified that there were three credit transfers into Ihsan Perdana’s account — RM40 million on Dec 24, 2014, RM5 million (Feb 5, 2015) and RM5 million (Feb 6, 2015) — making the total amount received was RM50 million.

At the material time, he said he did not know about the source of the RM40 million received on Dec 24, 2015.

But, before the credit transfer, he said See had pre-empted him that Ihsan Perdana’s account would be borrowed to keep a certain amount of money and transited savings before it will be transferred out.

“I asked for complete details from See, but he did not give any explanation and was hesitant to inform me about the information,” Dr Shamsul Anwar testified.

He told the court that Ihsan Perdana transferred RM27 million and RM5 million on Dec 26, 2014, and RM10 million (Feb 9, 2015) — totalling RM42 million — to the two AmBank accounts.

He also testified that Najib, whom he knew since the latter was the Umno youth chief, had never contacted him about the three credit transfers from Ihsan Perdana.

These RM50 million and RM42 million funds transferred in and out from Ihsan Perdana were verified by the prosecution’s 36th witness, former Ihsan Perdana senior account executive Aishah Ghazali.

Dr Shamsul Anwar said he assumed the RM42 million that was transferred out were for CSR purposes and instructed Aishah to prepare all the remittance forms of the transfers.

Earlier, he testified that both YR1M and Yayasan 1Malaysia Development Bhd had provided an expenditure grant of RM20 million a year since 2011.

He said the RM40 million grants were meant for CSR programmes, but RM5 million from the sum was used for yearly operational expenses.

Among CSR activities conducted by Ihsan Perdana included special haj programme, and assistance for fishermen, the poor and indigenous people.

The trial adjourned until May 28, 2019.