By Aathi Shankar
1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) former chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi has deceitfully faked a meeting that never took place between him and former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Shahrol Azral sensationally admitted at the 24th day of Najib-1MDB Trial that he had cheated on the non-existent four-eyed company meeting that purportedly took place March 30, 2011.
Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Colin Lawrence Sequerah heard on Thursday, October 17, 2019, that how Shahrol Azral had acted dishonestly by signing as the minute taker of the fictional meeting.
The fake meeting minutes contained directives from Najib, who was also the then finance minister and chairman of 1MDB board of advisors, on various operations of the government-link company (GLC).
Adding more stink to his admission, Shahrol Azral, 49, revealed that the fake meeting minutes were all prepared by Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low.
Lamster businessmen Jho Low and former SRC International Sdn Bhd CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil had also pre-drafted minutes of two other earlier meetings that apparently took place between Shahrol Azral and Najib on October 16, 2009 and July 21, 2010 respectively.
Shahrol Azral had submitted the minutes for Najib’s endorsement after the meetings.
Court documents revealed that the minutes were signed by both Shahrol Azral as the minute taker and Najib.
Under 1MDB’s Company Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA), the board of advisors, including its chairman, does not have any power to decide and direct the company undertakings.
The power is fully vested with the boards of management and directors.
By definition, Najib was not empowered to issue directives to 1MDB, which was an inherited federalised entity of Terengganu wealth fund, the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
MAA is a company’s governing constitution.
Under Article 117 of MAA, the prime minister was vested with the power to intervene and issue directives to 1MDB, which, however, as Shahrol Azral admitted, “Najib was unaware of.”
“I have never informed Datuk Seri Najib on his vested power under Article 117 over 1MDB,” testified the 9th prosecution witness, who as CEO was duty-bound to brief Najib on his premier powers over the company.
When Najib was never briefed on nor he was aware of the power within his purview under 1MDB’s company constitution, how he could have possibly abused his power?
Najib, 66, currently faces 25 corruption charges – 4 charges of abusing his power to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion in the 1MDB fund and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The Pekan MP has been alleged to have committed the 4 charges of gaining gratifications at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad Branch, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon in Kuala Lumpur between Feb 24,2011 and Dec 19,2014, and the 21 charges of money laundering between March 22,2013 and Aug 30,2013, at the same bank.