Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, must have thought his audience was full of fools to believe his fairy tales in court.
His testimony yesterday, Wednesday, September 25, 2019, in Kuala Lumpur High Court proved that he was a stooge for fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho aka Jho Low.
The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) former chief executive officer said that he did not counter check with then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on what Jho Low told him about the purported joint-venture project between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International Ltd (PSI).
Shahrol Azral told the 13th day of the Najib-1MDB trial that he came to know about the proposed joint venture from Jho Low and that he failed to verify it with Najib.
In his 270-page witness statement that the prosecution 9th witness has been reading since Monday, Shahrol Azral said the joint venture was discussed during Najib’s vacation in Southern France onboard a yacht with Prince Turki bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in August 2009, in the presence of Jho Low.
He claimed that Jho Low informed him that Najib had met with Raja Abdullah and both leaders had agreed to form a joint-venture worth USD2.5 billion for investment in both countries.
He read out before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that Najib had directed Jho Low to manage and provide coordination between 1MDB and PSI.
Shahrol Azral came to know all these from Jho Low and he did not counter check with Najib.
The 1MDB CEO just swallowed a piece of third party information without verifying it with anyone?!
Najib was then finance minister and chairman of 1MDB’s board of advisors.
Jho Low has nothing to do with 1MDB.
Jho Low’s supposed involvement, if any, was only with 1MDB predecessor, the Terengganu Investment Authority, which was the baby of Sultan Terengganu.
So Najib was Shahrol Azral’s boss.
As 1MDB CEO, Shahrol Azral was professionally and legally bound to get first-hand information from the premier, not from a third party who had no business to interfere in matters related to the government-link company (GLC).
Didn’t Shahrol Azral know that information from a third party shall be regarded as mere hearsay?
Didn’t he know that he was duty-bound to verify all these with Najib?
Is Shahrol Azral suggesting that he was taking instructions from Jho Low to run 1MDB?
A point to note is Shahrol Azral has also told the court that Najib never told him or the 1MDB board of directors to follow Jho Low’s instructions.
Najib, 66, currently faces four counts of using his position to obtain bribes amounting to RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same funds.
The Pekan MP is alleged to have committed four corruption offences at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad branch, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24 2011 and Dec 19,2014, while all the charges on money laundering between March 22,2013 and Aug 30,2013, at the same place.
By right, the 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral, not the advisor Najib, should be facing the charges as he was liable.
Company laws have spelled it out that the company management was solely responsible over all the entity’s undertakings.
Based on his own witness statement, Shahrol Azral had committed serious breach of law.
Why Shahrol Azral was not charged?
Why Najib, who was only the 1MDB advisor, was charged?
This is a mockery of the rule of law, a classic case of miscarriage of justice.