I was surprised, says Najib

‘That’s why we need an expert,’ he says as he could not verify his signatures on the shareholder minutes of SRC International

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

FORMER Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) said he was shocked with SRC International Sdn Bhd’s move to keep RM3.6 billion funds at banks abroad.

Najib, who was the former advisor emeritus of the company, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he did not sign any shareholder minutes of the company, including those that preceded the foreign deposits.

He maintained that he was not involved in SRC International’s operational matter.

Despite being the finance minister then, Najib claimed ignorance in court and said he was the one who should be alerted of any mismanagement of the company, including when almost all of the funds were left in Switzerland.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram: Take the totality of your testimony, you are now saying that you did not sign any of the shareholder minutes of the company?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: Therefore, going by your evidence, if you are shown the shareholder minutes, you would say they are all fake and forgery as no board of directors’ resolution or circular resolution were sent to you?

Najib: Yes.

Sithambaram: The board put RM3.6 billion of the company’s funds in overseas banks. When you were told about that, did you express shock that the Minister of Finance Inc as a single shareholder was not informed of the transactions?

Najib: I was surprised.

Sithambaram: As you were surprised, did you enquire the board how did they proceed with the transactions?

Najib: No, I did not enquire.

The prosecution team seeks to prove that Najib indeed signed the shareholder minutes and the board had actively carried out the instructions as reflected in the board’s resolutions.

Najib, in response, claimed that he did not sign any of the meeting minutes, but he testified that he did not lodge any police report on the alleged forged documents nor his signature.

Najib’s legal team, led by Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, demanded the signatures to be verified by an expert from Australia.

During the trial yesterday, even when he was shown an original copy of a document, Najib could not verify his signature on the document.

“You cannot confirm your own signature on the original copy as you had with the photocopy,” the prosecutor said.

“Yes. That’s why we need an expert,” Najib replied.

SRC International was incorporated on Jan 7, 2011, as a national strategic company to invest in natural resources other than oil and gas.

The former unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd was given a government-backed credit facility of RM4 billion by the Retirement Fund Inc for investment activities.

But no achievement was seen from SRC International from the first day until Najib’s defeat in the 14th General Election in 2018.

“At the material time,” Najib said, “we did not know it was a failure.”

On Monday, the prosecution attempted to impeach Najib as a witness, but failed after the judge ruled that there were no material contradictions in the defendant’s statements on the basis of his explanation.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said the discrepancies in Najib’s statements are “not irreconcilable”.