by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
For the very first time Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) today returned to the High Court here for his 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial involving RM2.3 billion as a convicted felon.
This was after the former prime minister was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million after he was found guilty of all seven charges over the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.
Najib who was released on a RM2 million bail, wore a mask and so did his supporters during the trial.
Today’s proceeding began with Najib’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed querimg 1MDB’s former chief executive officer, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 50, who has been on the stand from Sept 23, last year.
After a number of questions on the acquisition of energy company, Mastika Lagenda Sdn Bhd by 1MDB, Shahrol Azral agreed to the suggestion by Wan Aizuddin that the (Mastika Lagenda) deal was just a sham to deceive the board of directors.
“At the material time (in 2012), I didn’t know but now in hindsight, yes,” said the witness.
Mastika Lagenda owned a 75 per cent stake in Genting Sanyen Power Sdn Bhd (GSP), which was previously reported acquired by 1MDB after obtaining a blanket approval from Najib.
Wan Aizuddin contended that there was no written approval by the board of directors and Najib, who was then representing Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc), told the witness to proceed with the acquisition of Mastika Lagenda and it was the same for the option offer to take up a 49 per cent equity stake in 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of 1MDB.
Shahrol Azral, however, maintained that he had the blanket approval to continue.
Although he was grilled over and over again about conspiring with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and other figures involved in the 1MDB fiasco to embezzle millions from the company, Shahrol Azral maintained that he was not complicit with them in any way.
Earlier, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah asked how much longer the defence was going to keep the witness on the stand to which Wan Aizuddin replied it was expected that the witness would be cross-examined for another two weeks.
Before concluding, Wan Aizuddin informed the court that lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah would continue with the cross-examination tomorrow morning.
Najib, 67, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.