Kuala Lumpur — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said in court that he was shocked and surprised on discovering that large sums of cash had been deposited in his private bank accounts.
Najib said that he did not manage the accounts personally and had appointed a manager for that purpose.
However, the manager, former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamal, is nowhere to be found. He has been missing since the fall of Barisan Nasional in the 2018 General Election. He has taken flight, following in the path of alleged 1MDB mastermind, Jho Low. SRC International is a former 1MDB unit.
While Jho Low has given an e-mail interview to The Straits Times, Nik Faisal is completely off the radar.
At a hearing yesterday in the ongoing SRC International corruption trial, at which he faces seven charges, Najib added another element to his shock. When the prosecution grilled him about his nonchalance over SRC’s investment, he said: “Surprised, but I didn’t inquire.”
Najib again maintained his innocence, saying that the board of SRC International made decisions without his involvement.
Deputy Public Prosecutor V Sithambaram asked Najib whether he expressed shock that the Ministry of Finance Inc was not informed about the huge investments made by the company abroad. Najib replied: “Of course, I was surprised.” He added that he did not inquire over these investments and only “took interest on what was brought to my attention”.
In another development, Najib again expressed shock on Wednesday (Jan 8) after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) released alleged audio recordings of him in discussion with several officials over dealings linked to 1MDB and SRC International.
“I am looking into the content and have referred the matter to my lawyers… Such things were never done in the history of the country. And the timing is also near the Kimanis by-election,” he told reporters.
The by-election will be held on Jan 18 and will be a straight fight between Parti Warisan Sabah and Barisan National. Warisan is an ally of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.
The anti-graft body released nine audio clips which it said featured Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor, ex-MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Zayed Al Nahyan.
The anti-graft body said that, in one conversation, Najib and Sheikh Mohammed Zayed apparently discussed a cover-up of alleged money-laundering activity in the production of the movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.