KUALA LUMPUR: Former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan told the High Court here that according to his understanding, strategic investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was set up as a political fund for the ruling party then, Barisan Nasional.
Mohd Sidek, 71, said as such, he had never asked former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or any party in 1MDB about the problems in the company.
He said the issues that troubled 1MDB were only known to him through the mass media such as newspapers and the Internet, adding that he was aware that they were related to allegations of misuse of funds.
"I was also aware from newspaper reports that investigations on 1MDB were being conducted by local agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but I was never briefed or given further details on them.
"I can confirm that Datuk Seri Najib, as prime minister (then) had never informed me of issues in 1MDB, although I had been appointed as a member of the 1MDB board of advisors.
"I had also never asked Datuk Seri Najib why there was no 1MDB board of advisors meetings held throughout my time as a member and (why) no 1MDB representatives had reported to me on operations and investments made by the company," he said.
Mohd Sidek said when reading his witness statement during examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam in Najib's trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3bil in funds from 1MDB.
Meanwhile, the 19th prosecution witness said he was of the opinion that his appointment as a member of the 1MDB board of advisors was only to supplement his income (as chief secretary to the government), which he added that according to Najib, was considered low.
"When Najib was prime minister, he once asked me about my salary as chief secretary to the government, and he felt that it was quite low," Mohd Sidek, who held the post of chief secretary to the government from September 2006 to June 2012.
On his appointment as a member of the 1MDB advisory board, Mohd Sidek said it was made official through a letter issued by Najib and dated Aug 30, 2012.
"Although I was appointed as a member of the 1MDB advisory board, I have never been involved in any meetings or discussions on the company's issues and had never been invited to attend 1MDB's annual meetings. I had also never asked Datuk Seri Najib or 1MDB to be appointed as a member of this advisory board," he said.
According to Mohd Sidek, he received an allowance of RM30,000 per month during his initial tenure as a member of the 1MDB advisory board.
"After I retired as chief secretary to the government, I was still receiving an allowance of RM10,000 per month until I no longer held this position in June 2015," he said.
Mohd Sidek said on June 2, 2016, he received a letter from the 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy that 1MDB advisory board had been dissolved.
"I was not informed through this letter on the reasons why the 1MDB advisory board was dissolved and I also did not know either why it was dissolved. I also did not ask Datuk Seri Najib and 1MDB why the advisory board was dissolved," he said.
Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount. – Bernama