Nik Faisal had ‘high-level meetings’ with Najib, emboldened by ‘higher-up’, says witness

A key witness told the court that the results of such a meeting were reflected in the company’s main shareholder minutes

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARIF KARTONO

A FORMER director of SRC International Sdn Bhd testified that the company’s MD had “high-level meetings” with Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and he was emboldened by “higher-up”.

Datuk Suboh Md Yasin, a key witness to the former prime minister’s graft trial, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that SRC International MD Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was very powerful by the position, and that he (Nik Faisal) was emboldened by someone who was behind him.

During cross-examination, the defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh pressed on Suboh over the absence of any formal resolutions, circulars or terms of appointment that said Nik Faisal as the “contact person” between Najib and the company’s board of directors.

Suboh agreed to the defence’s point and said: “It was more than that. From what I understood, he had high-level meetings with (Datuk Seri) Najib. He told the board too.”

Suboh said the results of such a meeting were reflected in the company’s main shareholder minutes.

“You know that he was emboldened by his position. Firstly, he was the CEO, a very powerful person. Secondly, he had somebody behind him. He can brush us (the board) aside,” Suboh said on Day 31 of the trial.

Najib, who is facing seven charges of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering over RM42 million of SRC International funds, was the advisor emeritus of the company. Nik Faisal, whose whereabouts are unknown, was the ‘link’ between SRC International’s board of directors and Najib, as testified by the former SRC International director and chairman  Tan Sri Ismee Ismail.

Suboh’s way of answering of not a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and rather open-ended triggered a heated argument between the defence and prosecution teams.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram said the defence often cut the witness’ answers, but the defence argued that Suboh should answer the question as it is and any explanation is allowed during re-examination.

Meanwhile, Suboh testified that he did not sign the Real-time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities System (RENTAS) forms, and that someone could have forged his signatures to transfer multimillion funds out of SRC International.

The 42nd prosecutor’s witness agreed to the defence that his signatures on the hard and scanned copies of the documents were different, and he did not sign any of those original copies.

The 68-year-old corporate figure also told the court that somebody could have made illegal copies of his signatures on the “scanned” documents because the signatures on 17 different RENTAS transactions looked exactly the same.

Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah grilled Suboh until he agreed with the conclusions.

“These documents carry your signatures, but you did not sign them. Somebody copied and pasted, and the person was dishonest and not so clever because he used the same signature 17 times…and you have never signed the originals. Do you agree?” Muhammad Shafee asked, in which Suboh confirmed.

These had contradicted with Suboh’s two statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2018.

Suboh said he could have confirmed his signatures correctly if the MACC had shown him the hard and scanned copies of the RENTAS forms, as what the defence run with in the court.

Suboh also said he is not aware of any witness protection programme upon him.