KUALA LUMPUR – A former senior Finance Ministry officer today revealed how he was pressured to rush the drafting of a Cabinet paper on a Government Guarantee (GG) for a RM2 billion loan which SRC International Sdn Bhd intended to take in 2011.
Datuk Maliami Hamad said he was forced to prepare the document based on a one paragraph justification given by the company on why it needed the money and the government’s backing for it.
He said the pressure to rush the paper was piled on him not only from the company but also then Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah.
“I know he was also receiving instructions from (then) prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I also received the same directive from Najib’s private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias.
“I got a verbal directive from them to ensure the Cabinet paper was prepared quickly as it was to be tabled and approved by the ministers in the same week,” he said.
The 65-year-old Masters degree holder from Oklahoma University said he was forced to “transfer” all the pressure onto his subordinates to ensure the Cabinet paper was ready in time.
He said one of them, Afidah Azwa Abdul Aziz, was directed to ensure the paper was ready for then minister in the prime minister’s department Tan Sri Nor Mohd Yakcop to see and sign on the same day (Aug 15, 2011).
He said all this was done and the Cabinet paper was subsequently prepared, signed and passed by the Cabinet two days later.
Afidah had previously testified that the GG for the SRC International loan from the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) was given within 48 hours.
The former deputy secretary in the Finance Ministry’s strategic investment division said this was extraordinary as such speedy approval for a GG had never been given before.
Afidah’s testimony was backed by her boss, who confirmed the anomaly in the whole issuance of the GG to SRC International when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim.
Suhaimi earlier took Maliami through his witness statement in which the latter detailed how the government ended issuing two GGs to SRC International even though the company only provided scant details of its operations and did not fall into the category of those who qualified for such guarantees.
Maliami was the 43rd prosecution witness in Najib’s trial involving the abuse of SRC International funds.
The Pekan member of parliament is accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving GGs on SRC International’s RM4-billion loan from KWAP in 2011 and 2012.
Earlier, another prosecution witness, Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin, testified about how the entire makeup of SRC International was changed after an amendment was made to its constitution.
He said the insertion of Article 117, which saw Najib being made adviser emeritus of the company, turned SRC International into a company which was no longer governed by the Companies Act.
Instead, he said, in order to operate, the company received instructions from the prime minister.
Asked by deputy public prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram who was the prime minister at the time, Suboh replied: “Najib.”
He said the amendment on April 23, 2012, allowed Najib – who was also finance minister at that time, to control the company which came under Finance Ministry Incorporated.
The trial before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.