PM's approval in 1MDB's MAA Article 117 was never invoked, court told

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 01 Jul 2020

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court heard that the prime minister’s approval, as stated in Article 117 of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) Memorandum & Articles of Association (MAA) in matters relating to the sovereign wealth fund, was never invoked as all decisions were made and carried out by the 1MDB board of directors.

Former 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO), Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 50, said certain matters which needed the prime minister’s approval, including investments, restructuring and power to hire and fire outlined in Article 117, was never used.

He said this under cross-examination by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the Pekan MP’s RM2.3 billion 1MDB graft trial on Wednesday (July 1).

Muhammad Shafee: Article 117 was brought about to ensure the prime minister would be able to navigate matters of national interest.

Shahrol Azral: Correct.

Muhammad Shafee: During your interview with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members on Feb 11,2016, you were asked very specifically whether you, as the 1MDB CEO, had invoked Article 117 for consent from the PM...and you said no.

Shahrol Azral: Correct.

To another question, the ninth prosecution witness denied that he made a deal with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to avoid being charged in court.

Muhammad Shafee was referring to a complaint made by a BSI Singapore banker, Yap Jiawei, who was found guilty in the republic’s court for 1MDB-related money laundering and cheating offences, similar to how Najib was complaining on why the others involved in 1MBD had not been charged, here.

Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you, among others, you should have been one of the earliest persons to be charged for this.

Shahrol Azral: I disagree.

Muhammad Shafee: Did you make a deal with the MACC and the prosecution that you would sing (like a bird) in here and you would not be charged?

Shahrol Azral: No.

Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that you made a deal with the prosecution.

Shahrol Azral: I disagree.

Muhammad Shafee: Has anyone sued you for negligence?

Shahrol Azral: No.

Muhammad Shafee: That too because a deal had been struck that you would not be charged until you incriminate my client.

Shahrol Azral: I disagree.

The witness also said that he had no knowledge about Yak Yew Chee, private banker for Low Taek Jho’s father and another BSI banker, who was sentenced in the Singapore court involving the same charges.

At the outset, Muhammad Shafee informed the court that his client would have a full schedule of programmes in Chini, Pahang starting today until the by-election on Saturday (July 4).

"I would like to seek Yang Arif’s indulgence for the trial to be vacated tomorrow, ” said Muhammad Shafee.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah asked if Najib would be able to do a half-day session in court Thursday, but the counsel said his client found it "impossible" to do so as he would be tied up with full programmes.

The judge allowed the request and set July 15 for the trial to continue. – Bernama

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