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Najib, not King Abdullah, told me about Saudi donation – Former ambassador

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Professor Datuk Syed Omar Al-Saggaf, told the High Court here today that he only learned of the Saudi donation to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak from the former prime minister.

Syed Omar, 76, admitted that he was not told of this by the Saudi monarch himself, the late King Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

He said he learned about this after Najib had attended an official meeting on Jan 11, 2010 at the Riyadh Palace with King Abdullah.

During cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram, the fourth defence witness said he was not sure of the amount of donation given by King Abdullah to Najib.

Syed Omar, who was appointed Malaysian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in September 2008, agreed with Sithambaram’s suggestion that his testimony on the donation issue was based on his memory from 10 years ago.

Sithambaram: You personally did not hear what was spoken to each other (King Abdullah and Najib), what you said in your witness statement, you do not have personal knowledge of the facts in relation to the general election?

Syed Omar: No.

Sithambaram: You later learned about it?

Syed Omar: From Najib, as we were leaving the hall where the meeting took place.

Earlier, when reading out his witness statement, Syed Omar said that at the end of the official meeting, he saw King Abdullah, Najib and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom discussing something intensely as they were walking away towards the centre of the meeting hall.

“After the meeting had ended for good, I learned that King Abdullah did offer help in the form of funds which would be sent for Najib to use in managing his political affairs for the coming election,” he added.

Sithambaram: In this case, there were four different donations. In 2014, 50 million pounds promised by King Abdullah purportedly… but only 10 million was paid to Najib. Means they did not honour the word?

Syed Omar: I don’t know anything about this.

Sithambaram: If the promise made by the ruler (is) 50 million pounds, and only 10 million pounds (was) given, is (it) unusual?

Syed Omar: I have no idea.

During re-examination by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the witness said Jamil Khir and Prince Turki Abdullah Al-Saud were at the place when Najib told him of the donation offer.

Today’s proceedings ended after the court was told that Jamil Khir would be called to testify tomorrow.

Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd 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 Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.

— BERNAMA

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