I lacked experience on financial matters, Jho Low knows it, says 1MDB ex-CEO

I lacked experience on financial matters, Jho Low knows it, says 1MDB ex-CEO

KUALA LUMPUR:1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) former chief executive officer (CEO) told the High Court today that he did not have the chance to tell the then Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin that he had no experience in financial matters.

Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said that his appointment as Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) CEO, later renamed as 1MDB, was decided by people above him, namely the TIA board and the stakeholders, being the federal and state governments.

The ninth prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the 18th day of the former premier’s 1MDB trial.

Shafee: Did you tell the Sultan that you had no experience in fund-raising

Shahroll: No, I had no opportunity to tell the Sultan. I was not given an opportunity to speak to Tuanku about my concern (his lack experience in fund-raising).

“I was called to the Palace, I sat down, and was introduced to the Sultan and given the offer. If I was not qualified for certain aspects, it was the people who appointed me that should have known that.

“I had zero opportunity to tell the Agong that I had no experience. Tuanku was in a meeting room when I was brought in to the Istana by fugitive businessman Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) and it was my first time in the Palace and I was not prepared (for the occasion),” he said.

However, the witness said that he had informed Jho Low that he did not have the experience in fund-raising before he was brought before the Agong in 2009.

Shafee: You have no experience in financing matters, right Do you think that’s the reason why Jho Low appointed you Because you didn’t have financial experience

Shahrol: At the time, I didn’t think so.

Shafee: Now with hindsight

Shahrol: That is a possibility.

Queried why the Sultan’s representative raised questions about Jho Low, the witness said that Jho Low told him that it was a political fight between the state and federal government.

Najib, 66, faces 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 Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.