My duty and role as director exist only in name — SRC former director

KUALA LUMPUR — A former director of SRC International Sdn Bhd reiterated at the High Court here today that his duty and role as a director at the company exist only in name.

Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 54, who is testifying in SRC International’s US$1.18 billion civil suit against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and its former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil said, because of the absolute power and control exercised by the former prime minister, he was unable to perform his duty and role (as a director) in reality.

Shahrol Azral also refuted Najib’s allegation that he is guilty of acts, omissions, wrongdoings, breaches of duties and conduct which constitute the effective and actual cause of any purported loss and damage claimed to be suffered by SRC.

“At the material time, I trusted Datuk Seri Najib and Nik Faisal when they informed me that SRC was established to carry out strategic investment for the interests of Malaysia.

“Bear in mind that Datuk Seri Najib was the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister. I was also informed that, for the purpose of such projects, SRC would require a lot of funds, hence, the need to apply to Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) for a loan.

“After the loan was approved and disbursed by KWAP, Nik Faisal informed me that SRC was working on two big coal mine investments in Indonesia and Mongolia and it was necessary to remit the KWAP Loan as soon as possible in order not to miss out on good investment opportunities,” he said in his witness statement.

Shahrol Azral, who was testifying as a third-party respondent in the suit said therefore, both Najib and Nik Faisal had made false and misleading representations to the SRC board of directors including him, regarding the true nature and purpose for the disbursements of the RM4 billion fund from KWAP loan.

“Furthermore, at the material time, there was no reasonable ground for me to suspect that anything dubious or questionable was going on in SRC.

“To the best of my recollection, I remember telling Nik Faisal in view of the colossal sums involved, the relevant investment projects which he mentioned should be carried out as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, during cross-examination by Najib’s counsel Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, the witness also described Najib as having the style of a “grand chess master who moved things around on the board” when it comes to facilitating projects for SRC as well as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

SRC, under its new management, filed the suit in May 2021, claiming that Najib had committed a breach of trust and power abuse, personally benefited from the company’s funds, and misappropriated the said funds.

It is also seeking a court declaration that Najib is responsible for the company’s losses due to his breach of duties and trust and for Najib to pay back the RM42 million in losses that they have suffered.

Najib, 70, has been serving a jail sentence at the Kajang Prison since Aug 23, 2022, after being convicted of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds.

He then filed a petition for a royal pardon on Sept 2, 2022, and the Pardons Board on Jan 29 reduced Najib’s jail term from 12 years to six, with the fine cut to RM50 million from RM210 million.

The trial before Judge Datuk Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin continues on April 15. — BERNAMA / pic credit: MEDIA MULIA