Cabinet was asked to keep Saudi prince's donation under wraps, court told

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet was asked to keep a donation from a Saudi prince to the charity arm of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) under wraps as Datuk Seri Najib Razak had claimed the donor did not want to make his contribution known to the public, the High Court heard on Wednesday (Feb 10).

Former deputy chief secretary to the Cabinet Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid testified that Najib's remark was recorded in the minutes of a Cabinet meeting on Sept 8,2010.

The witness said through a special message by the then-prime minister titled "Sumbangan Dana Kepada Yayasan 1MDB (Contribution to 1MDB Foundation)", the Cabinet was informed of Najib's formal and informal engagement with certain Middle Eastern parties.

The engagement was said to have received positive response on matters involving Malaysian interests.

"Najib informed the Cabinet that Saudi prince Sultan Abdul Aziz Al-Saud had told him that he (the prince) had agreed to contribute to the 1MDB Foundation.

"The first donation had been received and the prince promised to channel subsequent contributions later. The prince, however, asked for the contribution not to be publicised," Mazidah said in her witness statement at the 1MDB trial here on Wednesday.

She said Najib told the Cabinet that with the contribution, 1MDB Foundation could conduct more corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities for those in need.

"Cabinet members could then give their views on the CSR projects to execute in October 2010," she said.

Mazidah also testified that Najib told the Cabinet to be more "creative" in finding other sources of funds as it would give more flexibility to the government to help the people.

She said the Cabinet then agreed with Najib for the Saudi contribution to be kept under wraps.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges of abusing his position to obtain gratification totalling RM2.28bil in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same.

The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Thursday (Feb 11).

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