Najib approved decisions at 1MDB before board meetings, witness says

The shareholders’ resolution will be prepared without date and filled once the board of directors signs the circular resolutions, says Mohd Hazem

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak would sign a shareholder resolution at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) before the board convenes a meeting, said Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman (picture; right), a former CEO of 1MDB.

He testified that Najib approved decisions made by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, before it was brought to the board of directors.

He said that was one of the reasons he believed Jho Low was Najib’s right-hand man who orchestrated 1MDB dealings and carried out the PM’s mandate.

The 10th prosecution witness said Jho Low would give discussion points to him and then be relayed to the board.

“The shareholders’ resolution will be prepared without date and it will be filled once the board of directors signs the directors’ circular resolutions. These convinced me to proceed with Jho Low’s instructions as they showed that they have obtained early consent from Najib,” Mohd Hazem said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday from his 110-page written statement.

Najib was then PM and finance minister who was also the sole shareholder of 1MDB through the Minister of Finance Inc.

Mohd Hazem said he was introduced to Jho Low by Najib’s former private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias, which was also part of the reasons that made him believe Jho Low had access to the PM’s Office and carried out the PM’s mandate.

Mohd Hazem, who was the CEO from March 2013 until January 2015, told the court there were times Jho Low would be present in meetings with Najib about 1MDB, including in New York and Abu Dhabi during the agreement signing ceremonies or meetings with foreign investors.

He added that Jho Low had arranged “proxies” at 1MDB, including the company’s legal counsel Jasmine Loo and former director Terence Geh.

Mohd Hazem said the 1MDB management had to follow instructions from Jho Low’s proxies and at times they were denied access to the company’s documents.

Earlier in the proceeding, Mohd Hazem said, when he was introduced to Jho Low by Azlin at Hotel Shangri-La Putrajaya on July 15, 2012, Jho Low told him that 1MDB was established to help fund Umno.

He, however, said Jho Low did not explain in detail how 1MDB would help Umno through the company’s strategic investments.

During that meeting, Mohd Hazem said he had the impression he must first gain “clearance” from Jho Low before executing any decisions at 1MDB if he wanted to work at the company.

“Azlin further confirmed this. So I know that I had to comply with the PM’s wishes and decision and that I need to report to Azlin and Jho Low,” he said.

Mohd Hazem joined 1MDB as COO in 2012 before becoming the CEO after his predecessor, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, who was hastily transferred to the now-defunct performance management and delivery unit.

Najib is facing 25 charges in the 1MDB trial — four counts of power abuse to obtain gratifications totalling RM2.3 billion and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same proceeds.