Najib trial: 1MDB wanted RM3 billion to set up SRC , says former EPU senior staff

Najib trial: 1MDB wanted RM3 billion to set up SRC , says former EPU senior staff

KUALA LUMPUR: An ex-Economic Planning Unit (EPU) senior officer told the High Court in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International trial that 1MDB previously sought RM3 billion from the government as grant in setting up its subsidiary company.

The former deputy director-general (macro) in the EPU Kamariah Noruddin said her department received a letter from the sovereign fund addressed to Najib in August 2010.

The letter was addressed to Najib as prime minister at the time.

1MDB had proposed the establishment of SRC or Strategic Resource Company as a special purpose vehicle company to explore energy resources such as oil and gas, coal, uranium, metal and aluminium.

“What was striking about this letter was that it came from a company instead of the ministries from which EPU normally receives such applications,” she said.

Her former supervisor and EPU director General Noriah Ahmad was instructed by Najib to look into the application, she said.

“The RM3 billion grant application was hard to process because we do not usually handle applications from the prime minister,” she said when questioned about the letter by deputy public prosecutor Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul.

The request for RM3 billuon however was not approved.

“We only approved an allocation of RM20 million as a launching ground for SRC,” she said, adding that this was for the study of coal and uranium.

Kamariah also said EPU had supported SRC in its bid for coal and uranium exploration as Malaysia is dependent on these two resources.

“For oil and gas, we had Petronas as the pioneer in the industry, and for metal, we decided that it was better to leave it to the private sector,” she added.

Kamariah, who retired last year, said after the application was approved for coal and uranium exploration, she sent a letter to 1MDB managing director Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi to inform the company about the RM20 million.

Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Nazlan Ghazali.

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1MDBnajib trialSRC International