KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not declare his interest in SRC International Sdn Bhd despite chairing a Cabinet meeting that discussed a memorandum relating to up to RM2bil in government guarantee for the company, the High Court heard.
Former Cabinet deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid said based on the minutes of the meeting on Feb 8, 2012, Najib -- who was the adviser emeritus of SRC International -- did not make any declaration of his interest in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd subsidiary nor did any of the Cabinet members ask him to leave the meeting before the memorandum was discussed.
According to Mazidah, after the meeting ended, a draft of the minutes was prepared by a team under her supervision on the same day and finalised in the same week.
The minutes indicated that the Cabinet ministers did not object to the loan.
Mazidah, who was under examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, said it was a practice for Cabinet members to declare their interests in any matters that would come up before the Cabinet.
“It (the declaration) would be noted in the meeting minutes. The minister would have to leave the meeting during the discussion,” she said here yesterday.
The witness gave three instances where ministers had excused themselves from Cabinet meetings due to conflict of interest.
She said former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin, former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein Onn and Najib himself had on several occasions excused themselves from Cabinet meetings over issues of conflict of interest.
“Based on a Cabinet record, Najib had once left a meeting that involved a memorandum regarding CIMB Bank Berhad,” she added.
Najib’s brother Datuk Seri Nazir was the chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd.
Mazidah explained that there was an article under code of ethics, which governed ministers and deputy ministers, that spoke about conflict of interest.
“It listed that for things to be tabled before the Cabinet, ministers with conflict of interest must leave and this must be recorded in the minutes.
“The article was amended by the Cabinet in 2013 but did not affect that part on conflict of interest,” she said.
Earlier, former SRC International board chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail said during a cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that he was not pressured by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to implicate any entities or person for the case.
Shafee: In the course of the MACC investigation, you were asked to implicate the SRC shareholder, that is Ministry of Finance Inc.?
Ismee: No, I don’t think so.
Shafee: There was no such goading or attempts to do that?
Ismee said he had thought that he had committed an offence instead throughout the course of the investigation.
“I was questioning myself, did I do anything wrong here?” he said.
Ismee however agreed with Shafee that MACC had frozen his bank account and that he had been blacklisted from travelling overseas.
It was a light moment in court when Shafee also said he was blacklisted from travelling, due to his own court case.
Shafee: You are still banned from travelling. I checked yesterday. I am surprised your name is still there. Don’t worry, my name is also there.
Ismee: One day, we can travel together. [Court laughs]
When asked why his accounts were frozen, Ismee said that it could have been related to him recovering his director’s fee from SRC International.
Najib is facing seven charges involving RM42mil in funds belonging to SRC International, 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 International.
On Aug 8 last year, he was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.