KUALA LUMPUR: A witness told the High Court here that he was discouraged from being a “busybody” on matters pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said he would not go beyond executing the instructions from talking points and action plans given to him by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.
The ninth witness had previously testified that Low would give instructions pertaining to 1MDB matters from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak through talking points and action plans.
The witness was under a cross-examination conducted by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the 1MDB trial here on Monday (Oct 21).
He was questioned on a US$700mil loan agreement between 1MDB-PetroSaudi Ltd (1MDB-PSI) and PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd.
Shahrol recalled the instance where he tried to asked Najib if he could speak to PSI
about recovering the funds.
“I still remember at a corporate social responsibility event in 2011 or 2012. I was standing next to Najib. I asked him if I could talk to PSI to get the money back. He said ‘talk to Jho Low’, ” the witness said on Monday (Oct 21). Shafee then asked the witness if anybody had stopped him from finding out further, and the witness said nobody stopped him.
Shafee: But you chose not to (find out further).
Shahrol: I was discouraged from finding out further.
Shafee: Because of that event?
Shahrol: It's hard to say if there was any obstruction but throughout my tenure as CEO
from 2009 to 2013, I have always felt that I was discouraged from being a busybody.
Shafee: You cannot inquire about matters regarding 1MDB as its CEO?
Shahrol: I was discouraged to go beyond the talking points and action plans that was given to me.
Najib, 66, faces 25 charges in total - four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.3bil; and 21 for money laundering
involving the same amount of money.
He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification if found guilty.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Thursday (Oct 24).