by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by TMR FILE
FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak had asked the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to consider loaning RM2 billion to SRC International Sdn Bhd instead of RM1 billion, according to witness Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah.
Wan Abdul Aziz (picture) — former chairman of KWAP — testified that the ex-finance minister had told him that RM2 billion financing would suffice for SRC International.
Additionally, the prosecution’s 45th witness told the High Court that Najib had requested him to expedite the loan approval process with KWAP.
Wan Abdul Aziz, 66, said these requests had been communicated in a meeting at the PM’s Office, after KWAP decided to approve a RM1 billion loan for SRC International.
“I want to state here that if there was no communication from Najib to me about SRC International’s loan with KWAP, the fund’s investment panel would maintain to approve a RM1 billion loan only, as deliberated,” Wan Abdul Aziz said on Day 35 of the trial yesterday.
Earlier, SRC International had applied for a RM3.95 billion credit facility from KWAP via a letter dated June 3, 2011, addressed directly to Najib. However, KWAP’s investment panel had agreed to give just RM1 billion to the company due to over-concentration risk. Wan Abdul Aziz, who was also former Treasury secretary general, said
Najib had called him to instruct the Finance Ministry to write a letter to KWAP to make an early disbursement of the credit facility prior to the issuance of a government guarantee.
He added that it is an unusual practice for KWAP to provide loans before the applicant receives a government guarantee officially.
During cross-examination, Wan Abdul Aziz said the initial decision of loaning RM1 billion was not definitive as KWAP had requested further information from SRC International on its business prospectus.
He also said he was not aware of any memorandum prepared by the then deputy Treasury secretary general (policy) to seek Cabinet approval for a government guarantee of SRC International’s additional RM2 billion loan from KWAP.
“By right, this document (should be) carbon copied (cc’d) to me. It did not reach my desk. It did not have (the words) cc’d and ‘on behalf’. This looked like a personal memorandum to the minister,” he said.
According to Wan Abdul Aziz, he only learned about the memorandum after the Cabinet had decided on the government guarantee.
Separately, the prosecution team has filed a notice of motion to postpone Najib’s Tanore Finance Corp trial, pending the completion of the SRC International trial.
The prosecution planned to call about 20 more witnesses in the SRC International trial, while the Tanore trial is scheduled to commence on Aug 19, 2019.
In an affidavit in support, the prosecution said any postponement will not be indefinite or open ended, and that it would only be until the High Court gives its judgement on the SRC International trial.
The prosecution said the Tanore trial does not have to be postponed, pending any appeals.
The SRC International trial was last allotted until Aug 15, 2019, while the Tanore trial is set to begin four days later on Aug 19 before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.