Highlights of Najib’s trial this week

19 Jul 2019 / 14:14 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: This week, the name of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, was mentioned directly for the first time in Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s (pix) SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, to link his relationship with the former prime minister.

The trial also raised question as to where did the RM42 million in Najib’s account came from as witnesses revealed that they did not know how the money had come into Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd’s account and how Najib spent RM3.3 million in just one day in De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jeweller, in Italy.

Here are some of the witnesses’ testimonies given this week.

DAY 37 (July 15):

Senior vice-president of Ambank in charge of credit card authorisation and fraud management Yeoh Eng Leong revealed that two credit cards belonging to Najib were used to spend RM3.3 million in one day, in De Grisogono, a Swiss luxury jeweller, in Italy on Aug 8, 2014.

The 47th prosecution witness said RM456,360.51 was spent using the Visa Platinum credit card and another RM2,864,309.54 using the Master Platinum credit card.

The witness also said that in early January 2015, another RM466,330.11 was spent at Chanel, an exclusive boutique in Honolulu, the United States, using the cards and the cards were also used to pay the amount of RM127,017.46 at Shangri-La Hotel in the Thai capital.

When cross-examined by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, the witness agreed that according to the credit card statement dated April 2015, the last payment was made by a person named Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (former CEO of SRC).

Yeoh also said all the payments came from Najib’s Ambank current account ending with number 880 and pointed out that Najib did not take any action regarding the credit card statements.

Ambank Manager of Remittance Unit at Wisma Amfisrt, Petaling Jaya, Wedani Senen, who was recalled to testify told the court that RM50 million which was transferred into Najib’s bank account in 2014 was not a ‘donation or a gift’.

The 24th prosecution witness said the money was remitted by two companies, namely Blackrock Commodities Global Limited from Singapore and Vista Equity International Partners from Seychelles.

The banker said two of the transactions listed the transfer of money into the former prime minister’s account as a ‘loan’.

She confirmed that a list of funds transferred into Najib’s Ambank account were from Blackrock Commodities Global Ltd £750,000 (RM4,093,500) on June 19, 2014; from Vista Equity International Partners £5,750,000 (RM30,320,250) on Oct 21, 2014; from Vista Equity International Partners £694,343.62 (RM3,624,273.7) on Nov 21, 2014; from Vista Equity International Partners £2,216.01 (RM11,567.57) on Nov 24, 2014; from Vista Equity International Partners £ 995,000 (RM5,360,065) on Dec 5, 2014; and from Vista Equity International Partners £ 1,264,462.29 (RM6,809,129.43) on Dec 18, 2014.

A senior lawyer Mohd Shuhaimi Ismail, told the court that SRC International Sdn Bhd was required to pay RM9.2 billion to the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) under its Bai Al-Inah financing facility for the RM4 billion loans it obtained in 2011 and 2012.

Mohd Shuhaimi, a partner at Messrs. Hisham, Sobri & Kadi, the legal firm involved in handling the documentation of the financing between KWAP and SRC, said the amount was the sale price imposed by KWAP on SRC, including the interest of 12%, for both the loans.

“The sale price in the transaction referred to the financing amount of RM2 billion, including the agreed profit at the end of the 10-year period based on the rate that was agreed in the sale agreement, and the interest rate was 12%.

“So, the sale price imposed by KWAP on SRC is RM4.6 billion for the first loan and (another) RM4.6 billion for the second loan,” he said.

Mohd Shuhaimi, 50, who is also a director at Legal Division of Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, said SRC was required to make the payment over a period of 10 years until 2021 for the first loan, while for the second loan, until 2022.

The 48th prosecution witness also said based on the sale and purchase contract, SRC was required to make the payment according to the time and date that had been agreed to.

DAY 38 (July 16):

Former 1Malaysia People’s Foundation (YR1M) chief executive officer Ung Su Ling, told the High Court that the RM42 million deposited into two bank accounts belonging to Najib by Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) in 2014 and 2015 did not belong to the YR1M.

Ung said she was told by Najib’s former private secretary, Datuk Azlin Alias (now deceased), to instruct former IPSB chief executive officer Datuk Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman to transfer the money into two accounts at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad and she was told that the money was for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

“Referring to the money totalling RM42 million, I confirm the money did not belong to YR1M,” said the 49th prosecution witness, adding that she did not receive instructions from Jho Low to transfer the money from IPSB into Najib’s two AmBank accounts.

DAY 39 (July 17):

Former group managing director of AmBank Cheah Tek Kuang testified that he met with Jho Low at Najib’s house in Jalan Langgak Duta, here, pertaining to the former prime minister’s request to open bank accounts in Ambank.

Cheah, who is the 50th prosecution witness, said that in the middle of January 2011, at around 7pm, he was taken in a car that drove him straight to the personal residence of Najib in Jalan Langgak Duta to discuss the opening of the bank accounts.

“I was provided with copies of the bank account and credit card opening forms by Miss Joanna (Joanna Yu Ging Ping, a relationship manager at AmBank). As far as I recall, the forms were blank and have not been filled up (sic) with the details of the client as required by the bank.

“Once I arrived at Datuk Seri Najib’s residence, I met with Mr Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, whom I have previously met.

“I was then taken into the residence by Jho Low who then introduced me to Datuk Seri Najib, and Jho Low also informed him that I was from AmBank. Datuk Seri Najib and I proceeded to the guest room while I saw Jho Low waiting at a different part of the residence,” he said.

He said the types of account opened is basic savings account with the account number 211-002-009048-1 and a current account with the account number 211-202-200969-4; and two credit cards were also approved under the name of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib, namely Visa Platinum and MasterCard Platinum cards.

“In relation to the ‘AmPrivate Banking-MR’ code name used for the above mentioned current account, this code name is reserved for this current account of Datuk Seri Najib.

“I was informed by Miss Joanna that the reason for the code name is based on the query made by Jho Low who had requested for the account to be dealt with the strictest confidence.

“I am not sure who decided the exact code name to be used for this account. I only know that there were discussions to use a code name for the protection of information and to maintain sensitivity. I subsequently informed the Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia of this matter,” he said.

Cheah also told the court that Najib had wanted to open accounts with the bank for the purpose of receiving donations from Saudi Arabia and that he was told that the donations coming in was in hundreds of millions in US dollars.

DAY 40 (July 18):

Cheah also described Jho Low, as a person who is never punctual and a liar and that he never trusted the man.

“I can tell you what kind of a person he is, (he is) a person who was never punctual. If an appointment was at 1pm, he would come at 1.30pm.” he said.

Former Treasury deputy secretary-general Datuk Fauziah Yaacob testified that SRC which was under the purview of the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc) did not have a Finance Ministry’s representative to monitor it as required.

Fauziah said the ministry monitored companies under the MoF Inc by appointing a representative to the Board of Directors.

“The purpose is for the ministry’s representative to provide advice and, together with other members of the board, determine the direction and future of the company,” she said.

She explained that there was no representative from the ministry monitoring the SRC even though there were efforts to obtain the company’s financial statements, no feedback was given to the ministry.

“The Finance Ministry then submitted a proposal to appoint Datuk Seri Dr Mohmad Isa Hussain as a member of SRC’s board of directors in a memo dated March 3, 2015,” she said.

Referring to the memo, Fauziah said the purposes of appointing Mohmad Isa was, among others, to set SRC’s direction, which the ministry felt was unclear in terms of business and investment.

“SRC was also among the companies that were often late in sending their financial statements to the finance ministry,” said Fauziah who retired on July 29, 2015, adding that till the day she retired, she had no knowledge of whether Mohmad Isa was indeed appointed.

When cross-examined by Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh, she agreed with the lawyer that the appointment proposal was only raised when the media started publishing reports about 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and rumours circulating within the ministry itself.

Also testiying were former SRC company secretary Chee Suwen and senior assistant registrar of the Civil High Court, S. Mageswary, as the 51st and 52nd prosecution witnesses.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues on Monday. — Bernama

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