I believe Ahmad Husni’s testimony was intended to paint me in a bad light and pay revenge due to his dissatisfaction towards me, says former PM
by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ARF KARTONO
FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak berated Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah who had earlier testified that he was treated like an “office boy” during his tenure as the second finance minister, who was also involved in the dealings at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
On his second day in the witness stand, Najib, who was the finance minister (FM), regarded Ahmad Husni’s claims of getting such treatment as “nonsense”.
“The claim made by Ahmad Husni that he was treated like an ‘office boy’ was a comedy as his signature as the second FM showed otherwise.
“Ahmad Husni also attended the Cabinet meeting on Feb 8, 2012, where the second government guarantee was approved and no issue was raised.
“It really did not make any sense when the second FM would stoop so low to having called himself as ‘office boy’, who allegedly only followed instructions when he failed to carry out his expected responsibilities in his position if he believed that SRC International Sdn Bhd was in need of more monitoring at the time,” Najib said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.
Najib said Ahmad Husni’s previous testimony — that he was not allowed to bring a delegation to Switzerland after funds belonging to SRC International were frozen by the local authorities — was out of context.
He said there was no need for the second FM to go to Switzerland as efforts had already been taken by SRC International to resolve the matter.
“I believe Ahmad Husni’s testimony was intended to paint me in a bad light and pay revenge due to his dissatisfaction towards me.
“I believe he was not satisfied when I transferred him from the Finance Ministry to the Economic Planning Unit because he resigned not long after that in 2016 and used the witness box as an avenue to express his discontentment openly,” Najib added.
Najib said other circumstances have built up the grudges and led to the misunderstanding between the two, which he did not intend to tell in court.
Ahmad Husni, who was the 56th prosecution witness, previously testified that he had forewarned Najib of potential risks if 1MDB entered the oil and gas industry, and of the PetroSaudi International Ltd involvement.
Meanwhile, Najib also told the High Court that he was not aware that Low Taek Jho, or known as Jho Low, had communicated with bank officers involving transactions relating to certain Arab donations.
Najib, who is defending himself against criminal charges linked to SRC International, testified he did not know about the correspondences between Jho Low and Joanna Yu Ging Ping, a bank officer in AmBank Group, concerning transactions in his bank account.
The defendant said the bank account, which ended with 694, was opened in 2010 in anticipation of receiving a donation ranging between US$100 million (RM418 million) and US$200 million from the late King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
Najib said Jho Low was the one who arranged his meetings with King Abdullah in Riyadh and Jeddah in 2010, which led to the understanding of a sum of donation was intended as a show of support from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia in maintaining stability and upholding Islam.
He said Jho Low was also the person who managed the incoming donations, while Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was appointed as an authorised person for the 694 account and supposed to liaise with the former PM’s principal private secretary Datuk Seri Azlin Alias.
Defence lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed: Email correspondences kept by Yu showed Jho Low had verified transactions and the exchange rate with AmBank. Has Datuk Seri authorised the matter?
Najib: No. As I said, I leave this matter to Azlin who I thought must have managed it with the bank by himself or through Nik Faisal. I did not have any knowledge about communications between Jho Low and Yu. I, however, found that Jho Low had informed Yu about the expected transactions.
A sum of US$100 million was received in tranches in 2011 from Prince Faisal Al Turki and Riyadh Finance Ministry, as evidenced by transaction records.
Najib, however, said he only knew about the transactions when they were shown to him by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission during statement recording.
Najib also said he was shown by Azlin a letter dated Feb 1, 2011, which was believed to be from a legitimate representative of King Abdullah, stating about the US$100 million as gifts and can be utilised according to his discretion.
He said he was made to understand that the letter was also submitted to AmBank and Bank Negara Malaysia.
Najib said he was shown a letter dated Nov 1, 2011, which was said to be from a legitimate representative of King Abdullah, stating about US$370 million gifts for him to utilise.
He said there was another letter, dated March 1, 2013, which was said to be from a legitimate representative of King Abdullah, stating about US$800 million gifts for him to utilise.
As of July 2013, Najib said he had returned about US$620 million to the donors, while about RM162 million was transferred to his other newly opened account.
Meanwhile, Najib said he was not aware of the RM123 million transferred in 14 transactions from SRC International to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd in 2014 and 2015.
He also denied that Nik Faisal was the connecting person between SRC International and him, as previously testified by former SRC International directors Tan Sri Ismee Ismail and Datuk Suboh Md Yasin.
“Not at all. That is not how a Ministry of Finance Inc company is managed,” he said.
As it is, Najib said Nik Faisal, the SRC International CEO, had deceived both sides — to him, by saying decisions had been made by the board; and to the board, by saying he had instructed the decisions.