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1MDB board was in ‘sandiwara’ over overseas funds belonging to Umno, court told

Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman says it was a 'scheme' that was 'not supposed to be put on record'.

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Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. Photo: Bernama
Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. Photo: Bernama

The former CEO of 1MDB told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today that the 1MDB board of directors was involved in a “sandiwara” (stage play) to hide that the overseas funds of the sovereign wealth fund belonged to Umno.

Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, the 10th prosecution witness, said this when cross-examined by Najib Razak’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed, in the former prime minister’s trial on the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds.

When asked why he did not put on record during the 1MDB board meeting on Feb 27, 2014, that the overseas funds supposedly belonged to Umno, the witness said “this was a scheme and this was not supposed to be put on record”.

Wan Aizuddin: You claim this is a conspiracy that all the board members participated in?

Hazem: Yes

Wan Aizuddin: You are saying that whatever was reported in the minutes was just for show?

Hazem: They knew what was at stake.

Wan Aizuddin: So you are saying that, whatever that was recorded in the minutes of the board meeting (to bring back the funds from overseas), it was all for show? Are you saying all this was a big sandiwara?

Hazem: Yes.

The 49-year-old witness also agreed to the lawyer‘s suggestion that none of the money repatriated from overseas went into Umno’s bank account.

To another question, Hazem told the court that he had never heard from Najib himself saying that the 1MDB’s overseas funds belonged to Umno, but only based it on what was said by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and Najib’s former principal private secretary, Azlin Alias, now deceased.

He said based on 1MDB’s meeting minutes, the company share holder (Najib) had intended to bring the overseas money back to Malaysia.

On Jan 6 this year, Hazem testified that 1MDB was set up for the benefit of Umno and that this was conveyed to him by Jho Low.

Najib, 67, who underwent eye surgery last week, was seen wearing dark glasses while sitting in the dock.

He faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.