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I BELIEVE UMNO BENEFITED FROM 1MDB - FORMER 1MDB CEO


Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman

15 Feb 2021


KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad chief executive officer (CEO) said he still believed that UMNO had benefited from the sovereign wealth fund despite the absence of evidence of monies being sent to the political party.

Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, 47, told the High Court here today that although the idea of 1MDB existed purely to service UMNO might sound insane, he believed it as this was conveyed by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low to him in the presence of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s former principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias.

“I will repeat what I have said before that in 1MDB, it was either you followed along (with the instructions) or not,” said the 10th prosecution witness during cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the former premier's 1MDB trial.

Muhammad Shafee: I’m asking you a fundamental question. At this point, another 1MDB former CEO, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi never said that 1MDB existed for UMNO. You are the first witness to say that. Why would UMNO benefit from it? How can you believe that?

Mohd Hazem: Basically, I was just following the instructions. From the legal perspective, it doesn’t make any sense. Muhammad Shafee: Now you know that benefiting UMNO like this is criminal?

Mohd Hazem: Yes.

Muhammad Shafee said the idea of UMNO benefiting from 1MDB would cause a lot of people, including the 1MDB board of directors to be in prison, to which Mohd Hazem agreed.

However, the witness said throughout his two-year tenure as the CEO of 1MDB, he never saw any evidence of benefits being delivered to UMNO or Najib himself.

Mohd Hazem said he did raise concern over the matter (1MDB to service UMNO) to former 1MDB chairman, Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.

The lawyer further suggested that Mohd Hazem was not being honest when he claimed that he was too terrified of Najib that he tolerated the criminal ways in 1MDB, to which the witness answered it was his opinion then (when he was still the CEO of 1MDB).

Muhammad Shafee: I’m putting it to you that if you were part of it, you could tolerate it. Mohd Hazem: I disagree.

Muhammad Shafee: Yet when you resigned, they awarded you with a bonus. How much?

Mohd Hazem: Yes. The gross amount was more than RM2 million.

Muhammad Shafee: It was RM2.725 million. Doesn’t it strike you as comedy that for all the criminal things you were asked to do, you were rewarded with RM2.725 million?

Mohd Hazem: Yes.

Najib, 67, is facing 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 trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.