by MARK RAO / pic by BERNAMA
A WITNESS in former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s corruption trial yesterday told the court that SRC International Sdn Bhd’s constitution was amended to expand his influence in the company and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was the “link man” to the former PM.
Tan Sri Ismee Ismail (picture), who was the former chairman of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary, said special resolutions were passed to appoint Najib as SRC International’s advisor emeritus.
“The PM shall be appointed and hold office as advisor emeritus to the company,” he told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.
Ismee, who is the 39th witness in Najib’s corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust trial, was referring to Article 117 which was added to SRC International’s memorandum and articles of association (M&A).
“The advisor emeritus shall advise the board on material matters and matters of strategic interest to Malaysia and the board shall give due consideration to implement any advice of the advisor emeritus in the best interest of the company,” Ismee, who was also a former board member of 1MDB, told the court.
The resolutions — which include Articles 117 and 118, as well as amendments to the existing M&A — were revealed by the minutes dated April 23, 2012, of an EGM conveyed by the company’s shareholder at the time, namely Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc).
A letter from Najib dated on the same date was also produced in court.
Najib was the finance minister at that time.
Ismee also revealed that he was handed the minutes of the meeting by SRC International’s management which he believed to be either company CEO Nik Faisal or Terence Geh (real name Geh Choh Heng).
The former CEO of Lembaga Tabung Haji also revealed that Nik Faisal was the liaison or link to Najib.
When asked by defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh, Ismee said his actions were based on what he perceived to be the PM’s instructions as conveyed by Nik Faisal.
“He (Nik Faisal) represented that he knew what the PM wanted?” Harvinderjit asked Ismee, to which the latter replied in the affirmative.
Ismee also confirmed there were no meetings between Najib as the advisor emeritus and the board, or any instance where the board formally sought the former PM’s advice.
“So, whatever that was presented to you from the advisor emeritus is based on aural say by Nik Faisal?” Harvinderjit asked Ismee, to which the witness replied in the affirmative.
“If there was anything that needed to be brought to the attention of Najib, this would be undertaken by Nik Faisal alone because only he acted as the ‘link’ between SRC International’s board of directors and Najib,” Ismee said.
Ismee resigned as the chairman and director of the controversial SRC International effective Aug 15, 2014, citing disagreements over the way the company’s accounts were handled.
SRC International was first incorporated on Jan 7, 2011, with Nik Faisal and Vincent Koh Beng Huat listed as the sole shareholders at the time.
This was in spite of the company initially intended to be incorporated as a subsidiary of 1MDB, which only took place later in August that year. The company then came under MoF Inc a year later.
Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit said the special resolutions to add Articles 117 and 118 to SRC International’s M&A were only submitted to the Companies Commission of Malaysia on Sept 25, 2012, making the advisor emeritus position to come into effect on that date.
Najib’s defence also added that the two Retirement Fund Inc loans were given to SRC International on August 2011 and late March the following year.
Yesterday was day 17 of the trial which saw the former PM accused of misappropriating RM42 million into his personal accounts.
Najib had claimed innocence and that the charges levelled against him are politically motivated. He also faces a slew of other charges related to 1MDB.