NAJIB TRIAL | The High Court in Kuala Lumpur was today told that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil was recruited into 1MDB in 2011 from UBG (Utama Banking Group), a company owned by fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi said Nik Faisal (above) was appointed as chief investment officer (CIO) in the sovereign wealth fund and the appointment was sanctioned by then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"Actually, I had earlier asked (1MDB executive director) Casey Tang whether he was willing to take the CIO post... before asking Low if he had other recommendations. He suggested Nik Faisal, that was how Nik Faisal’s name came up," he said when cross-examined by Najib's lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 34th day trial of the former premier's 1MBD case.
Nik Faisal is the former CEO of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
When asked if he could produce Nik Faisal’s appointment letter, Shahrol, 49, said he would try to get the letter from the investigating officer in the case.
For the record, Tang and Shahrol were brought into 1MDB by Low.
On the appointment of 1MDB general counsel, Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, Shahrol (photo) said he was the one who asked Low if Jasmine could be brought in.
"Jasmine was from Low's UBG as well. At first Low was reluctant, but later said he would agree to release Jasmine, if she said yes. I remembered having lunch with Jasmine and talked to her about the job opportunity (at 1MDB).
"Regarding Ong Gim Huat’s appointment as a non-executive director, he too was brought in by Low. We were in the process of expanding and trying to achieve Najib's 1Malaysia aspiration. Low said he had talked to Najib about it," he added.
To a question by Shafee, Shahrol described Ong as an independent and clean businessperson.
Shafee then referred Shahrol to a minute of meeting of the 1MDB board minutes where Ong informed the board about the Public Account Committee’s (PAC) request for the 1MDB quarterly risk report.
Shahrol said he was reluctant to provide the document to PAC initially as the PAC members also comprised the opposition for fear that they would take the report out of context and spin it.
However, he said, he later gave the report to PAC which subsequently led to the opposition holding a press conference on the matter.
Najib, 66, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Wednesday.