Najib’s ex-aide insists secret China trip was for 1MDB, SRC ‘bailout’

20-Sep-2019 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A secretive trip to China in June 2016 that Datuk Seri Najib Razak commissioned for infrastructure projects here was also to “bail out” 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its subsidiary SRC International Sdn Berhad, the High Court was told today.

Najib’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin referred to written talking points provided by businessperson Low Taek Jho just before the June 2016 meeting with senior officials managing China’s government-linked companies.

Amhari said he had gone to China alone on Najib’s instructions and as Najib’s special envoy.

Amhari noted that the talking points from Low had mentioned a message from the PM for the promotion of closer economic ties with an offer for China’s state-owned enterprises to participate in key multibillion infrastructure and development projects “while simultaneously completely resolving 1MDB and SRC debts”.

Amhari is the eighth prosecution witness testifying against Najib in the latter’s corruption trial over 1MDB funds.

Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah suggested, however, that 1MDB’s debt could be resolved when the economy grew and the Malaysian government would also gain as a result of the infrastructure projects offered up for China’s participation.

“I’m more inclined to disagree than agree, because you don’t need to spell out, you don’t need to put in talking points if it’s all about economic growth,” Amhari responded.

Amhari noted that the phrase of “resolving 1MDB and SRC debts” was mentioned prominently and at the “outset” of the talking points for the meeting.

Amhari highlighted that “nobody” knew about the secret meeting to which he had been sent as a special envoy of the prime minister then.

“I think based on this experience and history of links between Jho Low and 1MDB over the years, and to put specially in a private special task meeting to include this word ‘resolving 1MDB and SRC debts’, I think it’s a fair conclusion. It’s a bailout,” he later added.

Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involves 25 criminal charges four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

Earlier, Amhari gave his definition of a “bailout”, saying he understood it to mean a “cover-up” in “not a normal fashion”.

“It’s to rescue a company from its problems in a very abnormal way,” he said but clarified that it need not be illegal.

Amhari agreed with Shafee that the logical way to execute a bailout in this case was to inflate the price of infrastructure projects offered to China, with the excess channelled towards rescuing 1MDB.

However, Amhari said he did not know if projects such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two cancelled pipeline projects were overpriced, but maintained that the talking point pointed at a bailout.


Category: Malaysia

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