KUALA LUMPUR: Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director told the High Court here today he could not object to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s directives as the former prime minister held significant authority in the company, making it difficult to oppose his directions.

Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 59, said he won’t be refusing instructions from the former prime minister because he believed Najib was trying to do something best for the country and the company.

“There was no reason to suspect Datuk Seri Najib was not acting in the best interest of SRC,“ said Ismee during cross-examination by counsel Chong Yik Loong who is representing one of the third-party respondents, former SRC International chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Ismee is also testifying as a third-party respondent in SRC International’s US$1.18 billion civil suit against Najib and the former chief executive officer of the company, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, who is currently at large.

Chong also highlighted Ismee’s testimony from last week, where he expressed anger at Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil for not submitting the company’s 2013 financial accounts although the board had approved it.

“Up to May 2014 (when SRC board of directors discovered they were misrepresented by the management on the account closing) there was nothing to suggest that something was amiss about the company,“ Ismee explained.

To another question about the RM4 billion loan facility from the Retirement Fund Incorported obtained by SRC, Ismee said it was already approved even before he became the director of the company.

“I believed to a certain degree that a proper due diligence has been done because it was not easy to get a government guarantee (in order to apply for the loan). I have worked for Danaharta Nasional Berhad before, I know how hard it is to get a government guarantee.

“I only knew about the loan approval during the first SRC board meeting, I guess it was a pleasant surprise,“ he said.

Under the new management, SRC International filed the suit in May 2021 claiming that Najib had committed a breach of trust and abuse of power, personally benefited from the company’s funds and misappropriated the same.

SRC International previously removed five of its directors from the lawsuit including Ismee, retaining Najib as the sole defendant, however, the High Court later granted Najib permission to issue third-party notices against them.

The company is seeking a court declaration that Najib is responsible for the company’s losses due to his breach of duties and trust and for him to compensate the RM42 million in losses they have incurred.

The trial before Judge Datuk Ahmad Fairuz Zainol Abidin continues on June 13.