by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by ARIF KARTONO
AFTER months of delay, the former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial finally began yesterday after the conclusion of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s proceedings.
The 1MDB trial is expected to be longer, more intense and complex as Najib is alleged to have received a total of RM2.08 billion.
The prosecutors said the funds were deposited to his account in nine tranches — RM155 million, RM155 million, RM155 million, RM188 million, RM231 million, RM138 million, RM152 million, RM304 million and RM602 million.
The monies were transferred from Tanore Finance Corp’s account at Falcon Private Bank Ltd’s Singapore branch.
Najid also faces charges for five transfers — RM656 million, RM326.8 million, RM327.3 million, RM181.8 million and RM545.8 million — to Tanore.
Apart from the proceedings, these are three highlights of the trial’s first day:
Goldman Sachs Holds Watching Brief
Lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik and Raehan Yogaratnam held a watching brief on behalf of Goldman Sachs Group Inc in the courtroom.
The US investment bank was the arranger of billions of loans and bonds issuance made by 1MDB.
In turn, Goldman Sachs was paid hundreds of millions in arranger’s fee.
Goldman CEO David Solomon had apologised to the Malaysian people for the role that a senior banker at the firm, Tim Leissner, played in the 1MDB scandal.
One Witness Infected with H1N1
Sri Ram told the court that one of the six witnesses prepared for the first day of the trial was infected with H1N1.
However, only four witnesses had testified yesterday, including two from the PM’s Department, one from the Parliament and one from a private company alleged to have received money from Najib.
Two other witnesses listed by the prosecution were Datuk Wong Nai Chee, a lawyer at Messrs Wong Nai Chee & Co, and Batu Kawan Umno leader Datuk Mohd Noor Ahmad.
RM24,000 Paycheck for Najib’s Former Digital Press Secretary
The fourth prosecution witness, Noorhaina Hirawani Mohd Noor, who was the former digital press secretary at the PM’s Office (PMO) on secondment, said her salary was RM24,000 a month.
Noorhaina Hirawani was the lead individual behind Najib’s social media and online communications.
She was seconded to the PMO from Orb Solutions Sdn Bhd, the independent contractor that was hired for the then PM’s online messaging.
She helped the setting up of the company and became the co-director and CEO.
However, Noorhaina Hirawani was not on a government’s payroll for the said salary and left the PMO in October 2014.
Orb Solutions received a RM2 million cheque signed by Najib in 2013 for the day-to-day operations of the digital communication service provided for Najib’s online communications.
She said Najib’s aide Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin had first engaged her for the digital communication job in 2008.