Witness recalls ‘top-down’ process for transfer of SRC ownership

The application was sent directly to the prime minister for approval without going through the lower levels, the High Court heard.

(The Star) – The procedure to transfer the ownership of SRC International Sdn Bhd from 1Malaysia Development Bhd to the Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) was a “top-down” process.

The application was sent directly to the prime minister for approval without going through the lower levels, the High Court heard.

Former Treasury deputy secretary-general Datuk Mat Noor Nawi testified that former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil had sent a letter dated Jan 9, 2012, over the matter and addressed it to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was the then prime minister.

“This case is a bit different. In most cases, the company would send their application to the Finance Ministry,” he said.

The application would have to go through several layers which would involve either the Finance Minister or the Finance Minister II, a procedure which the witness described as the “first category”.

“But in the case of SRC, I categorised it in the second category which is the top-down decision-making process,” he said yesterday.

The witness was examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim in the corruption trial of Najib, who is accused of misappropriating RM42mil in SRC International funds.

Mat Noor said Najib had written a note that said “I agree with this proposal, please arrange”.

In the second paragraph of the application letter, Mat Noor said Nik Faisal wrote clearly “I write to seek the prime minister’s confirmation and implementation, advice by prime minister”.

“These meant that an agreement had been reached. Before SRC International wrote this letter, Nik Faisal probably had discussed with the prime minister who then gave a verbal agreement,” he said.

To a question on how Mat Noor became involved with managing SRC’s application despite it being addressed directly to the prime minister, the witness said he was asked to do so by former minister at the prime minister’s office, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

The witness further told the court Najib signed the draft memo for the transfer of ownership at the Subang airport on Feb 3, 2012.

Mat Noor said the car that ferried Najib stopped next to a waiting hall at the airport.

“I got out of the waiting hall and walked to the car. Najib studied the content of the memo while standing next to the car.

“After going through all four pages, he signed and made a note on the first page of the memo, which was placed on the bonnet,” he said.

To another question, the witness said the transfer of ownership of SRC International from 1MDB to MoF Inc did not involve any money.

“What is meant here involves the transfer of shares from 1MDB to MoF Inc,” he said.

Due to the absence of money,

Mat Noor said it was not necessary for the transfer to be discussed or presented to Parliament.

The witness also said that to his knowledge, due diligence was not observed during the transfer.

“As far as I know, due diligence was not implemented when I was there (as the Treasury deputy secretary-general) until November 2012,” he said.

On July 4 last year, Najib claimed trial to a charge of abuse of power and three counts of criminal breach of trust linked to the 1MDB scandal.

He allegedly misappropriated RM42mil in funds belonging to SRC International.

On Aug 8, he appeared in court for the second time and was charged with three counts of money laundering involving the same RM42mil.

The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues today.