'Certain protocols' prevented SRC board from directly engaging with Najib, says Suboh

'Certain protocols' prevented SRC board from directly engaging with Najib, says Suboh

KUALA LUMPUR (June 20): Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Datuk Suboh Md Yassin told the High Court on Thursday that the company's board of directors did not directly engage with then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak due to "certain protocols".

Testifying in the company's ongoing civil action against Najib, Suboh said that despite being misrepresented by SRC’s then chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil over the management's failure to submit overdue accounts for the financial year ended March 31, 2013 (FY2013), board members did not feel that the issue needed to be escalated to the then PM.

Defence counsel Farhan Shafee asked, "Did this not trigger the board to want to engage with [Najib] more directly to verify the purported instructions that came from him?"

"There [are] certain protocols; [Najib] also has his [other] duties, that is the situation that we [were] in," Suboh replied.

He added that with regards to the submission of SRC's accounts for FY2013, the board decided that it was something that could be sorted out internally with Nik Faisal.

While on the stand on Wednesday, Suboh testified that Najib controlled all aspects of running SRC, "either directly by himself or through his proxy and representative" Nik Faisal. The witness said that all major investments and strategic decisions involving the company were referred to Najib, in his capacity as the company’s advisor emeritus, for approval.

However, throughout his cross-examination on Thursday, Farhan had questioned if Nik Faisal had really been acting on Najib's instructions. Highlighting the management's failure to submit its financial accounts to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) and other instances, Farhan asked Suboh if any of this had triggered the board to meet Najib directly.

Suboh said that in hindsight, it should have been done.

Last week, former company chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail testified that Nik Faisal had misrepresented the board over the company’s financial accounts. Ismee said that he had scolded Nik Faisal, as he was under the impression that management had filed the accounts, only to learn otherwise from an article by The Edge.

The company had failed to submit its accounts for FY2013. The accounts were supposed to be submitted to the CCM by October 2013.

'Nik Faisal hides certain things'

With regards to the company's failure to submit its accounts for FY2013, Suboh agreed that it was a blatant misrepresentation by Nik Faisal and that the ex-CEO "hides certain things".

Farhan: Based on this, do you agree this would be an example of Nik Faisal's dishonesty when he represents certain things to the board?

Suboh: Yes could be, he hides certain things.

Farhan:It could also be the case where Nik Faisal misrepresented things [to the board]?

Suboh: That I don't know la.

Farhan:But that is entirely possible?

Suboh: Yes.

This civil case revolves around a RM4 billion Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) loan which was given in two tranches in the second half of 2011 and first half of 2012 to SRC. This is separate from the SRC criminal case, for which Najib is imprisoned.

SRC filed the RM4 billion suit against Najib and Nik Faisal in May 2021. Initially, the suit also named former company board members Ismee, Suboh, Datuk Mohammed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, and Datuk Che Abdullah @ Rashidi Che Omar as defendants.

They were later dropped, only for Najib to bring them back again as third parties. A defendant can initiate this against a third party who is not part of the main suit, in order to claim contribution, indemnity or any remedy which is claimed by the plaintiff.

SRC claims that out of the total KWAP loan of RM4 billion, a sum of RM3.6 billion was immediately transferred out when the funds came into SRC, of which a sum of US$120 million eventually ended up in Najib’s bank account.

The trial before High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin was cut short on Thursday as Suboh was feeling slightly under the weather. The trial is set to resume next Monday (June 24).

Read also:

Ismee got mad at Nik Faisal on discovering, through The Edge’s article, that SRC had failed to submit accounts for FY2013

  • https://www.msn.com/en-my/money/topstories/certain-protocols-prevented-src-board-from-directly-engaging-with-najib-says-suboh/ar-BB1oyXhm?ocid=00000000

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