‘My role existed in name only’

KUALA LUMPUR: A former director of SRC International Sdn Bhd reiterated at the High Court that his duty and role as a director at the company existed only in name.

Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 54, who is testifying in SRC International’s US$1.18bil civil suit against Datuk Seri Najib Razak and its former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, said that because of the absolute power and control exercised by the former prime minister, he was unable to perform his duty and role (as a director) in reality.

Shahrol Azral also refuted Najib’s allegation that he is guilty of acts, omissions, wrongdoings and breaches of duties which caused loss and damage claimed to be suffered by SRC.

“At the material time, I trusted Datuk Seri Najib and Nik Faisal when they informed me that SRC was established to carry out strategic investment for the interests of Malaysia.

“Bear in mind that Datuk Seri Najib was the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister. I was also informed that, for the purpose of such projects, SRC would require a lot of funds, hence the need to apply to Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) for a loan,” he said in his witness statement.

Shahrol Azral, who was testifying as a third-party respondent in the suit, said therefore, both Najib and Nik Faisal had made false and misleading representations to the SRC board of directors including him, regarding the true nature and purpose for the disbursements of the RM4bil fund from KWAP loan.

Meanwhile, during cross-examination by Najib’s counsel Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, the witness also described Najib as having the style of a “grand chess master who moved things around on the board” when it came to facilitating projects for SRC as well as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Under new management, SRC filed the legal action in May 2021, alleging that Najib had committed breach of trust, abuse of power, misappropriated the company’s funds and personally benefited from it.

It named Najib along with its former directors Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, Datuk Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Nik Faisal, Datuk Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar, Shahrol Azral and Tan Sri Ismee Ismail in May 2021.

However, later, it removed six names from the suit and retained Najib and Nik Faisal as the first and second defendants.

Additionally, Najib has brought the former named SRC International directors as third-party respondents in the suit. Najib was SRC’s emeritus advisor from May 1, 2012, until March 4, 2019.

The company is seeking damages, interests, costs and a court declaration that Najib is responsible for the company’s losses due to his breach of duties and trust, and is demanding that Najib pay back the US$1.18bil in losses that it has suffered.

It is also seeking US$120mil and US$2mil from Najib and Nik Faisal respectively, on account of fraudulent breach of fiduciary duties and breach of trust.

Najib has been serving a jail sentence at the Kajang Prison since Aug 23, 2022, after being convicted of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International funds.

After he filed a petition for a royal pardon on Sept 2, 2022, his jail term was reduced from 12 years to six years, and the fine was reduced to RM50mil from RM210mil.

The trial before Justice Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin continues on April 15.

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