Ahmad Husni raised red flag over 1MDB before resigning, court told

Former minister says Najib told him not to get involved in 1MDB-related decisions

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by BERNAMA

FORMER Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah’s (picture) concerns about the proposed investment of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) into PetroSaudi International Ltd were left unheard.

In the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial last week, Ahmad Husni testified that he had forewarned former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak of potential risks if 1MDB entered the oil and gas (O&G) industry, and of the PetroSaudi involvement.

“I met with Najib and expressed my concern over the investment risks. 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, 1MDB staff also had no experience in O&G. I told Najib to ask Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) 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’,” Ahmad Husni told the Kuala Lumpur High Court last week.

The 56th prosecution witness said he had cautioned Najib that the government could not set up a company without a feasibility study and that a financial projection of 10 to 20 years was needed.

Ahmad Husni said Najib, however, still went ahead with the plan.

Feeling himself downgraded to an “office boy”, Ahmad Husni said he realised then that he was not needed, except to sign documents.

He said he wrote a letter to Najib, started with “I’m worried” in August 2010, to advise the former PM over the setting up of 1MDB.

Ahmad Husni had stepped down in 2016 but last week testified that he lied to the media over why he resigned.

“I told the press that it had nothing to do with the (1MDB and SRC International) issues because I wanted to cover the ‘real story’. I did not want to tell the true story to the press (so) I said I quit voluntarily,” he said during cross-examination.

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). Separately, Ahmad Husni testified that Najib had refused to allow a delegation to go to Switzerland to seek clarification on the money frozen by its government for money laundering. Meanwhile, Najib’s former account relationship manager at AmBank Group, Joanna Yu, testified that over RM606.51 million had been deposited and spent through Najib’s three bank accounts from 2013 to 2015.

According to the bank documents tendered in court, the credited amount into the accounts came up to precisely RM606,510,434.66.

The prosecution’s 54th witness said fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho had informed her that Najib did not want to close his accounts with AmBank.

In their BlackBerry Messenger chat, Low had used the abbreviation of “OP” to refer to Najib, which meant “Optimus Prime”, the main character in the Transformers movies.

Last Friday saw the final prosecution witness, the investigating officer of the SRC International case, taking the stand.

The 56th prosecution witness Rosli Hussain, who is the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission senior assistant commissioner, testified that five witnesses in the ongoing trial have died.

They were Najib’s private secretary Datuk Seri Azlin Alias, EPU DG Datuk Noriah Ahmad, Umno Penang liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman, Retirement Fund Inc investment chief Ahmad Norhisham Hassan, and someone by name of Izat Izaidi.