Testifying for the first time in the witness stand for his defence, Najib said, “I was not involved during the stage when SRC was established or any amendments made to the company’s constitution.
“After reading the relevant documents on SRC’s formation, I came to know that SRC was formed through B&M Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd and Lim Poh Seng, who was 1MDB company secretary then,” he said.
He said then minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop, in charge of the economic planning unit under the Prime Minister’s Office, had approved the setting up of SRC International.
To a question whether he had the power to approve a RM3 billion grant sought by SRC International as the prime minister, Najib said he could do that but he was advised against it.
“I normally listen to advice from officers in the relevant ministries and agencies before I come out with a decision. They were of the view that the money SRC had asked for should not come from development funds as this may affect other industries,” he said.
The amendments in SRC International gave him the ultimate say in the appointment or sacking of the company’s directors. The amendments also state the board of directors must obtain the prime minister’s approval before the board of directors can execute any decision.
On the reason he was not curious the company gave him such powers, he said other government-linked companies (GLCs) also had similar provisions giving the prime minister the power to control the company’s affairs.
The company is owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated or MoF Inc.
“If the court allows me to explain, the prime minister’s powers in Petronas are more overarching compared to SRC,” he said, adding that under Petronas’ memorandum and articles of association, only the prime minister has the power to appoint its chairman and the chairman must act according to the prime minister’s orders.
Najib added, “The article was drafted in that way so that the prime minister can make sure the chairman acts according to the government’s policies.”
Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International and abuse of power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc.-/TISG