KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman was introduced to the firm by fugitive businessmen Low Taek Jho, the High Court heard today.
Testifying against Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his corruption trial today, his predecessor Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi told the court that Low, or better known as Jho Low had, in 2012, presented Hazem’s resume for a position in the sovereign wealth fund.
“His name came to me via Jho Low. He passed me a CV. He mentioned that it was recommended by Azlin,’’ said Shahrol, referring to the late Datuk Azlin Alias, Najib’s former principal private secretary.
Shahrol was under cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed who continued to grill the former CEO on 1MDB’s abortive US$6 billion (RM25.2 billion) joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS and 1MDB in 2013.
In the deal, 1MDB had raised US$3 billion in bonds through its subsidiary 1MDB Global Investment Limited (1MDB Gil), for which Hazem was listed as its CEO as well.
Shahrol then explained that originally Hazem’s resume also included a notation by Najib for the latter to be appointed as the company’s executive director.
However, Shahrol said that the firm had no such position and instead nominated Hazem as the chief operating officer (COO), a post to which the latter was later appointed.
When pressed by Wan Aizuddin that Hazem’s appointment as COO was another means for Low to continue with his scheme to embezzle funds from 1MDB, Shahrol disagreed with the suggestion.
Wan Aizuddin: I put it to you that the appointment of Hazem as COO, as suggested by Jho Low, is for the purpose for continuing the scheme to embezzle funds from 1MDB?
Shahrol: I disagree.
Wan Aizuddin: Do you agree, Datuk, that Hazem’s appointment to succeed you as the CEO, suggested by Jho Low, was for the purpose of continuing the scheme to embezzle funds from 1MDB?
Shahrol: I have no comment on that.
Hazem became 1MDB CEO when Shahrol left the post in March 2013; however, the latter remained as a member of the 1MDB board of directors until 2016.
Shahrol also told the court that from 2013 until 2016, Hazem in his capacity as CEO of 1MDB GIL never informed the board of directors of the company’s investment plans.
Previously, Shahrol had testified that Low had approached him in 2009 to helm 1MDB’s predecessor, Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
Shahrol had also confirmed in court previously that Low had proposed numerous people to 1MDB, including executive director Casey Tang, investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and Jasmine Loo.
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