Najib said I was not earning enough, says ex-1MDB adviser

KUALA LUMPUR: A former chief secretary to the government was paid RM30,000 a month as adviser to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) although he did nothing for the strategic investment company.

Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan told the High Court here that he believed he was appointed as adviser because then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak felt he was not earning enough in his job.

Mohd Sidek, 71, said that according to his understanding, 1MDB was set up as a political fund for Barisan Nasional.

As such, he said he never asked Najib or anyone in 1MDB about the problems in the company.

“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,” said Mohd Sidek, who held the post from September 2006 to June 2012.

He said his appointment to the 1MDB advisory board 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 also never asked Datuk Seri Najib or 1MDB to be appointed as a member of this advisory board,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

He said he only knew about issues that troubled 1MDB 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 into 1MDB were being conducted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but I was never briefed or given further details.

“I can confirm that Datuk Seri Najib, as prime minister (then), never informed me of issues in 1MDB, although I had been appointed to the board of advisers.

“I also never asked Datuk Seri Najib why there was no board meeting throughout my time as a member and (why) no 1MDB representatives had reported to me on operations and investments by the company,” he said.

Mohd Sidek was 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.

The 19th prosecution witness said he felt he was appointed to the board only to supplement his income (as chief secretary).

He said he received RM30,000 per month during his initial tenure as a member of the 1MDB advisory board.

“After I retired as chief secretary, I was still receiving an allowance of RM10,000 per month until June 2015,” he said.

Mohd Sidek said that on June 2, 2016, he received a letter from the 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy that the 1MDB advisory board had been dissolved.

“I was not informed why the advisory board was dissolved. I also did not ask Datuk Seri Najib and 1MDB why it 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.

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