by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
The High Court here today was told that the average time for the Government Guarantee application to be approved by the Cabinet is one to three months.
Former treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah (picture) said based on his experience, it basically depends on how urgent of the Government Guarantee was needed.
“Sometime it will take less than one month…. but normally one to three months,” he said this during examination-in-chief conducted by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lawyer Farhan Read.
In fact, Mohd Irwan said he was not aware of any applications that were approved in less than a month, stressing that it would take a month on average.
However, he said he was not involved in the 2011 Government Guarantee for RM2 billion loan Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) to SRC International Sdn Bhd, while for the second Government Guarantee for RM2 billion in 2012, he only signed the memo for the Government Guarantee to be tabled in Cabinet.
During previous proceedings, the former deputy secretary in the Finance Ministry’s strategic investment division, Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz testified that SRC International came to the ministry to discuss its ‘immediate’ need for the Government Guarantee on Aug 15, 2011, and the paper was tabled and approved by the Cabinet in its meeting on Aug 17, 2011.
She said this was extraordinary as such speedy approval for a Government Guarantee had never been given before as she was informed that SRC International was Najib’s company.
Explaining about the Government Guarantee in more detail, Mohd Irwan said that if a company can prove that they have future projects that generate income, then they are eligible for a Government Guarantee.
“They must be able to service their loans and principle… projects such as the Bakun hydroelectric dam was given a Government Guarantee because it was proven to generate income,” he said.
Today’s proceeding came to end after ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V.Sithambaram said he had no question to ask while the defence also opted not to re-examine Mohd Irwan.
Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The hearing before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues Monday.