KUALA LUMPUR: The investment panel of the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) was not bound to instructions from third parties, including the prime minister and finance minister, in any loan application, the High Court heard.
KWAP’s legal and secretarial department vice-president Azlida Mazni Arshad, 47, said the panel was also not bound to any suggestion in every investment proposal paper.
In her testimony here yesterday, she said the investment panel had the power to approve, reject and postpone any decision on loan applications as well as to requests for additional documents to verify applications.
The witness, who was cross-examined by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh on the 17th day of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s corruption trial involving RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds, also said the request to expedite a RM2bil loan from the former prime minister was “communicated” and not “instructed”, indicating that KWAP was not forced to rush the approval.
The request was communicated by Najib to KWAP’s CEO and chairman in 2011.
Harvinderjit (Referring to the witness statement): You used the word ‘communicate’.
Harvinderjit: You did not use the word ‘instruct’.
Harvinderjit: What was communicated then was to expedite the approval?
Earlier, the witness agreed that the “request” to approve the loans to SRC International in 2011 was not recorded in the minutes of the panel’s meeting.
Azlida had last week said in court that Najib had urged the retirement fund to rush the approval for the RM2bil loan to SRC International in 2011.
The witness testified that KWAP’s fixed income department could have rejected SRC International’s loan application.
She agreed to Harvinderjit’s suggestion that they could reject the applications of those applying for loans.
Azlida also agreed that the department would analyse the ability of the loan applicants to generate income and pay back their loans.
KWAP had approved the loan of RM2bil to SRC International in 2011 before approving another loan of the same amount in 2012.
The court had heard in previous testimony that SRC International wanted a loan to get involved in natural resources, such as oil and gas, iron and steel, and coal and uranium.
Najib is facing seven charges involving RM42mil belonging to SRC International.
The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.