Najib Trial: RM2.5 million was paid for political intelligence

Najib Trial: RM2.5 million was paid for political intelligence

KUALA LUMPUR: A former aide of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was often referred to as a mysterious figure in the previous administration, shed some light today on how he collected political intelligence for the then government.

Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah revealed that he was paid to gather such information for “Barisan Nasional’s political benefit”.

The 62-year-old accountant said Najib gave him money for this purpose when he was questioned about a RM2.5 million cheque he received from the latter in 2015.

“It was reimbursement for political operations I had done,” he said.

Habibul also expanded on the kind of political defence ops which he did for the then government.

“In politics, we must have certain foresight of what is going to happen and for that we must have the political intelligence.

“Nobody gives you such information for free. If you need to execute a strategy you must be able to get the relevant people to come forward,” he said.

Asked what kind of ops he had undertaken, Habibul said: “I don’t think I would like to answer this question.

“It is not black ops but special ops. There’s nothing illegal. All I do is to defuse political threats and get rid of political liabilities.

“It is like a chess game, you must be able to predict your opponent’s next move.

Earlier, when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, Habibul said he collected the cheque personally from Najib’s official residence in Putrajaya.

Habibul added that he told Najib to write the cheque in the name of his lawyer’s firm Zulkarnain & Co.

Saifuddin: Why was the payment of RM2.5 million made to you?

Habibul: It was reimbursement for political operations.

Saifuddin: Who told Najib to write the cheque under Zulkarnain & Co?

Habibul: I did.

Saifuddin: What happened after the cheque was handed over to the law firm?

Habibul: I told my lawyer to prepare some cheques under my wife and children’s name. The rest of the money was left in the firm’s account for political ops.

Habibul’s lawyer Ashraf Abdul Razak last week testified that his client had given him the RM2.5 million to be banked into the law firm’s account.

He gave details of how Habibul had given him the cheque and later asked for money to be dispersed to his client’s wife and children over a period of time.

He said Habibul told him that the RM2.5 million was payment for a defence contract.

However, Habibul today denied this when crossed-examined by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Shafee: You were not paid this money as a reward for a defence contract?

Habibul: Definitely not.

Shafee questioned Habibul at length on his role as a political analyst and strategist in Najib’s administration.

To a question whether he asked Najib where the source of the RM2.5 million was from, Habibul said he did not ask the former prime minister about it since he believed it was from political donation.

He said it was common knowledge that everyone wanted to give political donations to a serving prime minister as they wanted to establish good will with the number one leader of the country.

“I entered Umno in 1984 and this has been the way how Umno operates and all party presidents hold the party’s funds,” he said.

Asked by Shafee how he accounted the money spent on his intelligence operations to Najib, he said he did it personally as “the amount is not much”.

“It’s for intel work and not ground ops… a very nominal sum is involved.”