KUALA LUMPUR: A witness and Datuk Seri Najib Razak's defence team clashed over the word "government" the during the latter's corruption trial involving RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Former SRC board chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 54, insisted that in his state of mind, the word "government" in his written statement referred to the former prime minister.
The witness was questioned during cross-examination by Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh here on Monday (June 17).
Last Monday (June 10), the High Court heard Ismee's written statement where he said that he had once raised the issue of SRC's governance to former CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who would always reply that the matters raised had been discussed and agreed by the "government".
"In my opinion, the 'government' that Nik Faisal was referring to was Najib," he said in the statement.
Harvinderjit argued that a prime minister could not be the government as it involved a whole machinery.
He suggested that in August, 2011, Nik Faisal said matters in SRC were facilitated by the Finance Ministry (MoF), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc).
Harvinderjit: If Nik Faisal says these are all decided by the government, you would agree that he suggested that it is not decided by Najib, but at the government level by either the MoF, EPU or MOF Inc.
Ismee: We know the government is the prime minister. There were visions and aspirations.
Harvinderjit: Yes, when we talk about vision, it is the vision of the prime minister. If we talk about aspirations, it is the aspirations of the prime minister. But it cannot be the government is the prime minister because the government is not the prime minister. Those decisions should go through the whole machinery.
Ismee: As far as I am concerned, it was the prime minister. When the word 'government' is mentioned, in our minds (the board) we understood that it referred to the prime minister.
Najib is facing seven charges involving RM42mil in funds belonging to SRC, formerly a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
On July 4 last year, Najib claimed trial to a charge of abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust linked to the 1MDB scandal.
He allegedly misappropriated RM42mil in funds belonging to SRC.
On Aug 8 last year, he was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali on Tuesday (June 18).