By Aathi Shankar
Former chairman Tan Sri Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah has testified that the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) decided to approve the loan application by SRC International Sdn Bhd on its own accord, not on Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s orders.
The prosecution’s 44th witness at the Najib’s trial told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that the first RM3.95 billion loan application by SRC in 2011 was approved after it went through KWAP’s normal process and complied with its procedures.
“No matter where the instructions coming from, we (KWAP) has to go through the normal process,” he testified before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today, Wednesday, July 10, 2019.
SRC International had submitted its first loan application on June 3, 2011 to then Prime Minister and Finance Minister 1, Najib, who had minuted his approval on June 5, 2011, for the loan application before forwarding it to KWAP for consideration.
Wan Aziz, who was also then the treasury secretary-general under the Finance Ministry, said Najib’s minuted approval merely meant that the former premier had only agreed to SRC International’s plan to apply for the loan.
He agreed with the defence argument that Najib did not mean to instruct KWAP to sanction the loan without going through the due process.
The fact that KWAP was not influenced by Najib was obvious when Wan Aziz revealed that the statutory body’s Fixed Income Department (FID), which vetted the loan application, only proposed for a RM1 billion loan to be given to SRC International.
The loan application was first vetted by FID, then KWAP’s Investment Committee before it was deliberated and approved by its Investment Panel.
KWAP finally decided to give only RM2 billion to SRC International on on Aug 26, 2011 after receiving a government guarantee.
SRC International received a total RM4 billion loan from KWAP in two tranches of RM2 billion each.
KWAP approved the second loan on March 27, 2012.
Previously KWAP’s former chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Azian Mohd Noh testified that she never considered Najib’s supporting note minuted on a loan application by SRC International as an “instruction”.
“I definitely did not take it as an instruction,” she testified on Wednesday, May 29, 2019.
“When Najib as PM says he was agreeable to the proposal means that he was agreeable for KWAP to give the loan to SRC,” the prosecution’s 38th witness added.
Wan Aziz was also among the three high ranking treasury officials who vetted and approved the Cabinet memorandum or papers on the government guarantee for SRC International to secure the KWAP loan.
The others were former treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Maliami Hamad, former secretary to the treasury’s investment and loan division.
All those who vetted the Cabinet papers are bound by the law to dismiss the papers if they had found something amiss, not right or inappropriate over SRC International’s loan application and government guarantee.
However, in this case, there was none, and the Cabinet duly approved the papers and decided to become the guarantor for SRC International for the KWAP’s loan.
This confirmed that the Cabinet papers prepared by the treasury on the government guarantee went through proper channel and strictly followed all government procedures.
Thus, there was no hanky-panky or abuse of power in the Cabinet’s decision-making process to give the guarantee to SRC International.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to SRC International funds.
The charges were 3 each for CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and 1 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.