Ex-SRC man says he thought Najib was acting in good faith

KUALA LUMPUR: A former director of SRC International Sdn Bhd told the High Court that he could not have objected to instructions by Datuk Seri Najib Razak as he believed that Najib’s directives were meant for the betterment of the country and the company.

Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 59, said he believed the former prime minister, who was the sole shareholder and wielded significant authority in the company, was doing his best for SRC.

“There was no reason to suspect that Datuk Seri Najib was not acting in the best interest of SRC,” Ismee said.

The witness was under cross- examination by lawyer Chong Yik Loong, who was representing one of the third-party respondents, former SRC International CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Ismee is also a third-party respondent in SRC International’s US$1.18bil (RM5.57bil at current rates) lawsuit against Najib and another former CEO, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who is currently at large.

On the RM4bil loan facility from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) obtained by SRC, Ismee said it was approved before he assumed his position in the company.

“I believed to a certain degree that proper due diligence had been done because it was not easy to get a government guarantee (in order to apply for the loan).

“I was with Danaharta before, I know how hard it is to get a government guarantee.

“I only knew about this (that the loan was approved) during the first SRC board meeting; I guess it was a pleasant surprise,” he said.

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 former directors Datuk Suboh Md Yassin, Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Nik Faisal, Datuk Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar, Shahrol Azral and Ismee, in May 2021.

However, it later removed five names, including Ismee, 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.

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 (RM5.57bil at current rates) 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.

The hearing before Justice Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin continues on June 13.

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