KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak never exerted any pressure to secure loans for SRC International Sdn Bhd from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), the Kuala Lumpur High Court told today, Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
The 35th prosecution witness at the ongoing Najib-SRC Trial, Azlida Mazni Arshad agreed with the defence that Najib’s minutes on a SRC International’s loan application, which was forwarded to KWAP for consideration, was a mere “request than instruction”.
She testified before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that minutes of KWAP’s Investment Panel meetings held in 2011 to deliberate on the loan application never had mentioned anything to suggest that then Prime Minister Najib had pressured for the loan to be given to SRC International.
“He (Najib) had not influenced the decision-making process nor applied any pressure on SRC loan application,” said the KWAP’s Legal and Secretarial Department vice-president during cross-examination.
“Minutes noted by the prime minister (Najib) was more of a request rather than an instruction.”
Last Thursday, reading out a prepared statement, Azlida reportedly told the court that she was informed at a special meeting chaired by KWAP chairman Tan Sri Wan Aziz Wan Abdullah that Najib wanted the loan approval to be expedited and that the RM2bil loan was enough.
SRC International had submitted its application to then Prime Minister and Finance Minister 1 Najib, who had minuted his agreement on June 5, 2011, for the loan before forwarding it to KWAP for consideration.
In spite of Najib’s recommendation, KWAP’s Investment Panel deliberated on the application for over a month and finally approved only a RM2 billion loan, lesser than the RM3.95 billion sought by the company, and too with a government guarantee.
SRC International, a subsidiary under 1MDB then, had sought the loan then to facilitate its imminent investments into alternate energy resources sector.
KWAP Investment Panel also approved another separate RM2 billion loan for SRC International for the same purpose.
The court also heard that KWAP’s total RM4 billion loan to SRC was still in effect and had not been terminated.
Azlida also testified that KWAP’s Investment Panel was not bound by any body or person in its decision-making process.
She said that any Investment Panel member suspected to have been under outside influence in the making decision process would be liable for a crime under Section 14.3 of the Retirement Funds Act 2007.
One can be fined up to a RM2 million fine or maximum 10 years imprisonment, or both, if found guilty by the court.
Pointing out that KWAP practised an open door policy, Azlida said any staff could lodge a complaint to the agency’s top brass if unhappy with any decision made by its management.
In the case of SRC International’s loan approval, there was none. – NTHQiBord, 14 Mei 2019.