Monday, July 4, 2022

Ex-1MDB chairman says Najib told him to get ‘guidelines’ before PAC testimony

Mohd Bakke Salleh says the concern at the time was to 'safeguard the reputation of the PM'.

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Former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that Najib Razak had asked him to meet former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Hasan Arifin to get “guidelines” for his testimony to PAC in 2016.

Bakke, 68, said he received the call from the former prime minister about two weeks before the PAC proceeding on Feb 11, 2016.

“I received a call from Najib asking me to meet with the PAC chairman, Hasan Arifin. He asked me to meet up at the house of Ahmad Farid Ridzuan, the former managing director of TV3.

“He wanted me to meet up with Hasan and also with Farid, just to make sure that we all understood roughly what needed to be shared or said at PAC, and that was the gist of it… At that time, the concern was to safeguard the reputation of the PM (prime minister),” he said.

He said this when cross-examined by Najib’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, in the former prime minister’s trial for the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

Bakke also said that he met Hasan twice on different occasions at Farid’s house in Kiara Hills, with former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi present at the first meeting. The second meeting, meanwhile, was attended by 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

“I got the impression that Hasan and Farid were just trying to get me to be more accommodative, not to be too hard with the testimony or replies to PAC,” he said, adding that he was told not to make any reference to the prime minister.

To a question on fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, Bakke said Jho Low was the intermediary between 1MDB and Najib and not a nominee for the Pekan MP.

Najib, 68, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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