KUALA LUMPUR: An ex-aide of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the High Court here that he received a RM2.5mil cheque in 2015 for "political defence operations".
Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah (pic), who owns the firm HKS Consultant, said the money was used for political intelligence and to establish "goodwill" among the political fraternity.
Testifying in Najib's SRC International trial, he said part of the RM2.5mil was for reimbursement for his own money that was spent for the purpose and part was used for the ongoing political operation.
Habibul's name first surfaced when his personal lawyer Ashraf Abdul Razak testified in the same court last Thursday about receiving the RM2.5mil cheque from Habibul, which was issued under the name Zulkarnain & Co, the law firm where Ashraf was a partner then.
Habibul said he requested Najib to issue the cheque under the name of the law firm because if it was under his own name, it would be misinterpreted as his own revenue.
"The money is not for my purpose. It's for the purpose of a political defence operation," he said before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali during the cross-examination by DPP Muhamad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi.
DPP Saifuddin: Why did Najib give you RM2.5mil?
Habibul: Because that is for BN's political benefits.
DPP Saifuddin: Where did you receive this cheque?
Habibul: At his residence, I think official residence in Putrajaya.
DPP Saifuddin: What happened after you handed over this check to your solicitor? Any instructions?
Habibul: I only asked him to prepare a few cheques for my wife and my children because this is part of my reimbursement. The rest he keeps it and used for ongoing operations.
Habibul was later questioned by Najib's counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if he ever questioned the former premier where the source of the money was from.
He replied he did not because he believed it was from a political donation.
"Since 1984 when I entered Umno, there's always been the talk that if you are the PM (Prime Minister), everyone wants to give you political donation to establish goodwill with you," said Habibul.
Shafee: Can you give me a broad idea, of what kind of political defence operation?
Habibul: In politics, you must have a certain level of knowledge on what you expect will happen. With that, you need political intel. You must have a network of people that provide you information from time to time. It is also quite normal that no one gives you information for free.
At the same time you also need to develop political goodwill among those politicians like the division heads, so that if you need to execute some strategy, they will be willing to come forward to help you.
Shafee: Give me a specific project that you have undertaken, perhaps one that is not so sensitive.
Habibul: I don't think I would like to answer.
Shafee: What was the idea behind all these?
Habibul: To diffuse political threats and get rid of political liabilities.
Najib faces seven charges involving RM42mil belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
On July 4 last year, Najib claimed trial to a charge of abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) linked to the 1Malaysian Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
He allegedly misappropriated RM42mil in funds belonging to SRC International.
On Aug 8, 2018, he appeared in court again for the second time and was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.
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