By Aathi Shankar
Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had transferred USD700 million from 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) to Good Star Limited in September 2009 without consulting anyone.
The 1MDB former chief executive officer (CEO) failed to consult with the company’s boards of directors or management or lawyers, or even inform the board of advisors, headed by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, before transferring the money worth some RM2.43 billion on September 29th and 30th 10 years ago.
He had only informed the 1MDB board on the USD700 million transaction in an October 3, 2009 meeting.
He admitted before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah that the government-link company (GLC) could have avoided the loss of the US$700 million if he had consulted the board.
“In hindsight, it would have been prudent to bring it up to the board,” ShahroL Azral told the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today, Monday, October 21, 2019.
Good Star Ltd, which is owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low, received the money despite having no business dealings with 1MDB.
Shahrol Azral claimed the money was transferred to Good Star as part of 1MDB investment plan to inject USD1 billion into a joint venture company to be formed with purported business partner PetroSaudi International (PSI) Limited.
PSI was expected to inject US$1.5 billion into the joint venture firm.
It has been nearly a month now since Shahrol Azral took his stand as the 9th prosecution witness in Najib-1MDB trial.
The prosecution may have anticipated obtaining solid testimonial evidence from the 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO) to back its crusade to prove that Najib had used Jho Low as his proxy to gain gratification for himself from the government-link wealth fund.
The prosecution battle cry from the start was to prove that Jho Low was Najib’s “alter ego, mirror image”, that both of them had worked together to misappropriate 1MDB funds.
However, Shahrol Azral’s testimony, especially under cross-examination for the past two weeks, seems to have damaged the prosecution case and boosted Najib’s chances to clear his name.
Since taking his stand on Monday, September 23, 2019, until today, the 25th day of the trial, Shahrol Azral testimony has revealed that he was indeed the “alter ego, mirror image” of Jho Low.
Previously Shahrol Azral, 49, revealed that 1MDB was never Najib’s idea.
The state wealth fund was a federalised precursor entity of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
The 1MDB former CEO admitted he had always followed Jho Low’s instructions and never had checked with Najib about those orders.
He had testified that Jho Low was a manipulator who had conned him and Najib as well.
He admitted that he had faked a meeting that never took place with Najib.
He had also falsely claimed Jho Low’s presence during a meeting Najib at the former premier’s residence in Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur.
It is becoming clearer by the day that Najib had been subjected to political persecution.
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.