Monday, July 4, 2022

Najib called the shots in 1MDB, not me, says ex-second finance minister

Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah says he warned Najib that 1MDB should not be formed without a feasibility study, but that his advice went unheeded.

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Former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah today told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that Najib Razak had the decision-making power in 1MDB, not him.

Husni, 70, said this was evident when the former prime minister went ahead with the 1MDB joint-venture project with PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI) despite the concerns raised by the 20th prosecution witness.

“In 2009, I told Najib that 1MDB should not be formed without a feasibility study, to which Najib said that he would continue with it, and he told me to keep the matter out of my mind.

“Regarding the joint-venture project with PSI, I told him that there was no oil well yet. If there was no oil, we would lose the investment. Moreover, 1MDB had no track record and no experience in the oil exploration field and it should be left to Petronas.

“But he told me not to interfere anymore. It showed that the power was with him because there was no discussion,” he said when re-examined by senior deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram at Najib’s trial for the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in funds from 1MDB.

Previously, Husni testified that he met Najib in his office to tell him that 1MDB should not be established without a feasibility study to make a practical assessment of project proposals as well as the risks in terms of business and finance.

Sri Ram: It was put to you that former 1MDB chairman Mohd Bakke Salleh had described former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi as a criminal. Are you aware who Shahrol was taking instructions from?

Husni: From Najib Razak.

Sri Ram: Najib Razak, you mean the accused?

Husni: Yes.

Sri Ram: Yesterday, during cross-examination, you were asked about Petronas. It was put to you that the PM had a total monopoly of the business (Petronas). What is the primary business of Petronas?

Husni: It deals with petroleum, not only nationally, but also with international investments in the sector.

Sri Ram: In the case of 1MDB, does it have anything to do with natural resources?

Husni: No.

Najib, 68, 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 judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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