KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh told the High Court on Wednesday (May 18) that his movement, even to the toilet, was closely monitored when he attended the signing ceremony of the joint-venture (JV) project between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) in 2009.
Mohd Bakke, 68, said the incident occurred at the 1MDB’s office.
"Actually, at that point of time, I already left the board. I was invited to attend the ceremony. I attended the said ceremony in November 2009 in respect of the 1MDB board of directors (BOD) and shareholders.
"The ceremony headed by Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi was also attended by several members of 1MDB management as well as (Saudi Arabia’s) Prince Turki (bin Abdullah Al Saud) and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,” he said.
The 15th prosecution witness said this when cross-examined by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the former prime minister’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3bil funds from 1MDB.
When asked if he met with Najib during the ceremony, Mohd Bakke replied: "No, my movement was monitored by one of 1MDB’s employees, from the time I arrived at the office until the time I left, also during the entire event and right up to the toilet.”
Muhammad Shafee: Tan Sri, you said you were being monitored and watched by one of the employees of the company, and you said, you were being followed right up to the toilet. Why?
Mohd Bakke: My guess is as good as yours.
To this, the lawyer countered that he cannot guess as he was not at the event.
To another question, the witness said he did not tell anyone that he wanted to see Najib during the ceremony.
"After I resign from the company, I wouldn’t want to get involved in 1MDB. It was something I wanted to put behind me. Anything linked to 1MDB is something I’m not interested in following up. I did not attempt to see Najib at the event,” he said.
The court also heard that Mohd Bakke met fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low for the first time in early 2007 at his office in Felda Holdings, accompanied by former Senate President Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang.
"They presented a proposal in relation to a renewable energy project. We had two or three meetings with them. Felda finally decided to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with them and the MoU was signed before Najib.
"However, the joint-venture did not materialise as they didn’t fulfil the terms of MoU,” he said adding that he had no suspicion against Jho Low nor Abu Zahar at that point of time.
Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. - Bernama