Monday, July 4, 2022

Ex-1MDB chairman says movements were monitored during JV ceremony with PetroSaudi

Mohd Bakke Salleh says he did not attempt to see Najib Razak at the event as he wanted to put 1MDB behind him.

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Former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh told the High Court yesterday that his movements, even to the toilet, were closely monitored when he attended the signing ceremony for the joint-venture (JV) project between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) in 2009.

Bakke, 68, said the event was held at the 1MDB office.

“Actually, at that point of time, I had already left the board. I was invited to attend the ceremony. I attended the ceremony in November 2009 in respect of the 1MDB board of directors and shareholders.

“The ceremony headed by Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi was also attended by several members of the 1MDB management as well as (Saudi Arabia) Prince Turki (bin Abdullah Al Saud) and Najib Razak,” he said.

The 15th prosecution witness 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 funds in 1MDB funds.

When asked if he had met with Najib during the ceremony, Bakke replied: “No, my movements were monitored by one of 1MDB’s employees, from the time I arrived at the office until the time I left, during the entire event and right up to the toilet.”

Shafee: Tan Sri, you said you were being monitored and watched by one of the employees of the company, and you said you were being followed right up to the toilet. Why?

Bakke: My guess is as good as yours.

To this, the lawyer said that he could not guess as he was not at the event.

To another question, Bakke said he did not tell anyone that he wanted to see Najib during the ceremony.

“After I resigned from the company, I didn’t want to get involved in 1MDB. It was something I wanted to put behind me.

“I was not interested in following up on anything linked to 1MDB. I did not attempt to see Najib at the event,” he said.

The court also heard that Bakke met fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low for the first time in early 2007 at his office in Felda Holdings, accompanied by former Dewan Negara president Abu Zahar Ujang.

“They presented a proposal in relation to a renewable energy project. We had two or three meetings with them. Felda finally decided to have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with them and the MoU was signed before Najib.

“However, the joint-venture did not materialise as they didn’t fulfil the terms of MoU,” he said adding that he had no suspicions against Jho Low or Abu Zahar at that point of time.

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 today.

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