Former 1MDB Chief: I was scared to tell the truth because Najib was Prime Minister

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is being tried on four counts of power abuse and 21 counts of money laundering involving a total exceeding RM2.2 billion in 1MDB funds. Source (pic): TTF

بكس كتوا 1مدب: ساي تاكوت برچاكڤ بنر سبب نجيب ڤردان منتري

A former CEO of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) today said he had not dared to share the “truth” about the government-owned company with anti-corruption investigators in 2015 as Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the prime minister then.

Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman said this while testifying as the 10th prosecution witness in Najib’s corruption trial over more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.

Hazem said however that he did air his concerns and frustrations about 1MDB affairs to the company’s chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and two company officials, Vincent Koh and Azmi Tahir who were employed during his tenure.

Hazem said the next time that MACC recorded a statement from him was in 2018 after the 14thgeneral elections. All in, he said the MACC recorded statements from him a number of times.


KUALA LUMPUR: A former CEO of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) today said he had not dared to share the “truth” about the government-owned company with anti-corruption investigators in 2015 as Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the prime minister then.

Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman said this while testifying as the 10th prosecution witness in Najib’s corruption trial over more than RM2 billion of 1MDB funds.




Hazem said June 10, 2015 was the first time he had given his statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), with this statement recorded while he was still a 1MDB director and only regarding 1MDB’s real estate matters, particularly a purchase by Tabung Haji of one of the plots of land in the Tun Razak Exchange Development (TRX).

Cross-examined by Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Hazem confirmed that the MACC statement recorded from him was not about the 1MDB scandal itself, before further stating that he did not dare to talk about the 1MDB matter itself to the investigators.

Shafee: Didn’t it occur to you, this is a splendid time for you to tell them that you have been uncomfortable about what happened in 1MDB?

Hazem: Not really.

Shafee: Still didn’t want to say anything despite your soul being troubled.

Hazem: I’m fearful to tell the whole truth then, because the prime minister is still in power.

Shafee: You agree with me that if you had wanted to tell, this was an opportunity but you chose not to tell?

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Hazem: Correct.

Hazem said however that he did air his concerns and frustrations about 1MDB affairs to the company’s chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin and two company officials, Vincent Koh and Azmi Tahir who were employed during his tenure.

Hazem said the next time that MACC recorded a statement from him was in 2018 after the 14thgeneral elections. All in, he said the MACC recorded statements from him a number of times.

Hazem joined 1MDB as chief operating officer (COO) in August 2012 and was its CEO from March 2013 until early January 2015.

Today, Hazem agreed that he was told by Low Taek Jho in a July 2012 meeting that 1MDB was meant to benefit Umno. He added that he was briefed on this by Low before he took up the COO position in 1MDB.

Agreeing that it would be “wrong” and “criminal” for 1MDB as a government-owned company to benefit Umno, Hazem however said that he did not dare to turn down the appointment as 1MDB COO.

Shafee: Before you took the contract, you knew this is wrong. So you went into 1MDB, took up the contract, with your eyes wide open?

Hazem: Yes.

Shafee: You are going to be a participant of a criminal act.

Hazem: Yeah.

Shafee: You were OK with that?

Hazem: You know, at that time, I was fearful of basically snubbing the prime minister, because I heard my CV has been minuted.

Hazem had said previously in his witness statement that he was reluctant to join 1MDB after hearing Low’s July 2012 briefing that the company was to help Umno and was under Najib’s control, as there was too much political decisions he would have to follow if he were to work there.

Hazem had however also said in his witness statement that he had no other choice as Najib had already signed and approved his appointment as COO and executive director in 1MDB, and as he felt he should not reject the job as he was told by 1MDB director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail that Najib had already made the final decision and agreed with his appointment.

Hazem however also confirmed to Shafee today that he had not seen evidence of benefit or money being sent to either Umno or Najib while he was CEO at 1MDB for around two years.

Source:

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