by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
“YOU don’t worry, Husni, from today onwards, don’t get involved, I don’t want you to interfere.”
These were the words uttered by former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak when told by his then Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah on the risks of the plan by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to invest in PetroSaudi International Ltd.
Ahmad Husni, 67, said he raised his concern on the proposed investment after learning that 1MDB, a company under the Finance Ministry Inc (MoF Inc), was planning to invest in the oil and gas (O&G) company.
“I went to meet with Najib and expressed my concern over the investment risk. I told him we (the government) could not invest in PetroSaudi because the company was still exploring for oil. If the oil is not found, the investment would be gone.
“Apart from that, the 1MDB staff also has no experience in O&G. I told Najib why not ask Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) to invest in the company because Petronas has more experience in the field, but he said, ‘you don’t worry, Husni, from today onwards, don’t get involved,” he added.
The 56th prosecution witness said this during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan on the 49th day of Najib’s trial in relation to the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
Ahmad Husni said prior to that, he also went to see Najib when he learnt that the Pekan MP wanted to set up 1MDB.
“I told Najib that we cannot set up a company without conducting a feasibility study.
“We need to have the financial projections of 10 to 20 years to ensure the company is viable, but he said ‘I know what I’m doing, I am going ahead’,” he added.
Regarding himself as an “office boy”, Ahmad Husni said he realised then that he was not needed, except to sign documents.
He said in August 2010, he sent a personal letter to Najib in an effort to advise the PM, expressing his concern over the setting up of 1MDB as it could create a controversy, and of its effect on the government and to him (Najib) personally.
“I started the letter with ‘I’m worried’,” he added.
In the meantime, Ahmad Husni told the court that Najib had refused to allow a government delegation to go to Switzerland to clarify on the money that was frozen by the Swiss government.
The witness said he was informed that an investment fund belonging to SRC in a bank in Switzerland had been frozen by the Swiss government for money laundering.
“I then went to meet with Datuk Seri Najib and sought his permission to bring a delegation from the MoF, Bank Negara Malaysia and Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to bring the documents to prove that the money was a loan from KWAP.
“However, the honourable PM did not give his consent for me to do so,” he said when reading out his witness statement.
Ahmad Husni was referred to a document, “Letter of Guarantee Issued by the Government of Malaysia in Favour of KWAP”, dated Aug 26, 2011.
“I confirm that this is the government guarantee letter that I signed, as per a Cabinet decision that approved the Cabinet Memorandum tabled by Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop,” he said.
Ahmad Husni said he was appointed as Second Finance Minister in 2009 and stepped down from the post on June 27, 2016.
When asked by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan whether he could identify Najib, Ahmad Husni said he could, if the person was in court.
He turned towards the dock where Najib was seated and said: “Haaa, there he is, (sitting) at the back, who is always smiling”, which drew laughter from everybody in the court.
The hearing before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow. — Bernama