Najib, 67, said the amount of money kept in BSI Limited Bank in Lugano, Switzerland was meant for natural energy resource investment and the ‘parking’ was just for ‘transit’.
He said this after he agreed to a suggestion under cross-examination by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram on the 71st day of his trial on alleged misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC funds at the High Court here today.
In response to this, Sithambaram said the ‘transit’ period of seven years from when the first RM2 billion loan and another RM2 billion were disbursed respectively in 2011 and 2012 until 2018 when Najib left office was too long.
Najib did not react to this.
Sithambaram then suggested the approval of the second government guarantee for the SRC second loan was extraordinary because it happened due to Najib’s interest in the strategic resource company.
Sithambaram: As the prime minister and finance minister, you should not seek to approve the (second) loan because there will be a conflict of interest.
Najib: I disagree.
Najib reiterated that the second loan was approved because he was hoping that SRC would do better even though he had insight into what was happening in SRC.
“I had confidence in the people sitting in the board (of directors) because they as highly-qualified individuals had succeeded in the corporate world before.
“I assumed they had the capacity to proceed with the investment due to their track record in the corporate bodies,” Najib added.
Najib disagreed with Sithambaram’s suggestion that he should have recused himself in the cabinet meeting which approved the government guarantee for the second Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) loan as his presence as prime minister could have influenced the other ministers.
Sithambaram: I put it to you, apart from sending monies to Switzerland, nothing was achieved by SRC after the first government guarantee.
Sithambaram: Having had several meetings with former SRC chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, you did not inform the cabinet that the company had not done anything with the first KWAP loan.
Najib: No, I did not inform.
Sithambaram: …and Sir, you agree there is nothing to show (to the country) from the RM4 billion obtained by SRC when you left office?
Najib: Yes, I agree.
Sithambaram also suggested to the Pekan MP that if the RM4 billion was his own (Najib) money, he would not put it where he did not know how it will grow. Najib did not respond to this.
Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.