Husni admits lying to media to cover for Najib

He told the media that his resignation had nothing to do with SRC and 1MDB issues to protect and out of respect to Najib

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

FORMER Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah admitted in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that he lied to the media over the reason for his resignation in 2016, because he was covering for former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

Ahmad Husni, 67, said he told the media that his resignation had nothing to do with SRC International Sdn Bhd and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issues, when he was, in fact, doing so to protect and out of respect to Najib.

“Out of respect, I told the press that it had nothing to do with the (1MDB and SRC) issues. I said that because I wanted to cover the ‘real story’. I don’t want to tell the true story to the press. (So), I said I quit voluntarily.

“The newspapers, they will write all sorts of stories, they will spoil the (reputation of the) PM. I was not telling the truth. I was covering for the PM,” he said during cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 50th day of the former premier’s trial in relation to the misappropriation of SRC funds.

Earlier, Ahmad Husni said the decision to voluntarily resign was made after reading the news that he had been transferred to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

On that day, he said he was scheduled to attend the Economic Council Meeting and since the meeting was delayed, he had the time to read the newspaper.

“On Monday, June 27, 2016, we were scheduled to have our usual Economic Council Meeting. Normally, it starts at 9 am but on that day, it started at 11am. I read in the newspaper that morning that I have been transferred to the EPU,” he said.

Ahmad Husni said he kept quiet during the meeting and only after the meeting ended, he went to see Najib.

“I told the PM that I was made to understand he wanted to transfer me to the EPU, to which he said, “Yes, I am transferring you to the Housing and Local Government Ministry, I want you to go to another ministry to take on new challenges,” he said.

Ahmad Husni said he told Najib,

“Please drop me,” before he left and returned to his office.

“Then, the PM called me and asked, ‘This is voluntary, ya Husni?’, and I said yes,” the former minister said, adding that he then packed his things up before heading home.

To Muhammad Shafee’s question whether he resigned because he was transferred to another ministry, Ahmad Husni said: “Yes, but it was not basically about the transfer. There was a bigger issue than that, I swear by Allah, there was a bigger issue.”

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of power abuse and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International funds totalling RM42 million.

The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues. — Bernama