A balancing act protecting both the country and 1MDB's interests, says Irwan Serigar

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah told the High Court that he was in a "delicate position" as he had to balance both the interests of the country and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 42nd prosecution witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak's RM2.28bil 1MDB graft trial said he wore "two hats" as the then-Treasury secretary-general and as a member of 1MDB’s board of advisors (BOA).

The Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc) fully owns 1MDB.

“It is a very delicate position. You need to protect the country as Treasury secretary-general and protect the company (1MDB) as the board of advisors.

“You need balancing, the right approach where it benefits the company and the nation. It is a delicate position,” he said during cross-examination by Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah here on Thursday (Nov 24).

He also said as the Treasury secretary-general, he had also given advice to Najib, sometimes in an unofficial capacity, whether at Najib's office or residence.

He also testified that his subordinates had direct communication with Najib in matters relating in to 1MDB.

Mohd Irwan was refuting a previous testimony by former MOF Inc officer Datuk Siti Zauyah Md Desa that she had no direct access to Najib to air her grievances on 1MDB.

“The other officers, sometimes the prime minister (Najib) called them directly, so anybody can approach (Najib),” Mohd Irwan said.

Najib is on trial for 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah this afternoon.

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