KUALA LUMPUR: Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak (pix) told the High Court yesterday that fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was among Najib’s political strategists, and his involvement was not just limited to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) matters.
Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 43, said Jho Low was one of the former premier’s advisers in regard to political plans and election in the country.
He said this when cross-examined by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the sixth day of Najib’s 1MDB’s trial.
Last Wednesday, the eighth prosecution witness testified that Jho Low was a strategist in investment affairs, negotiations between Government and Government or ‘’G2G’’, as well as Najib’s political strategist, including the funds raised by the former premier.
Muhammad Shafee: In your witness statement you described Jho Low as ‘’pencatur’’ (strategist). What do you mean?
Amhari Efendi: He makes the plans and arrangements which also involve strategies and he is able to make things happen.
Muhammad Shafee: ...as Datuk Seri Najib’s political strategist. What do you mean by this?
Amhari Efendi: He is one of the individuals ... from what Jho Low told me, he talked to Datuk Seri Najib regarding his (Najib) political plans about election.
The witness said Jho Low was also Najib’s unofficial advisor as he was one of the individuals who has a close-knit relationship with the Pekan MP to a point that he was able to advise and discuss with him.
Referring to Amhari Efendi’s witness statement, Muhammad Shafee asked whether the appointment of Jho Low as Najib’s special advisor was documented, to which the witness replied in the negative.
Muhammad Shafee: You said Jho Low’s appointment was unofficial/confidential. Why?
Amhari Efendi: Because he was not an official ... yet people know who are the individuals that are close to Najib and could advise him. In the context of confidential, the discussions between them are in private ... not many people know what goes on.
The witness said Jho Low’s appointment was not common knowledge among the workforce in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) except for senior officers such as Najib’s principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias.
Amhari Efendi also said he was not aware that Jho Low was appointed as a company advisor to the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) on April 8, 2009.
Muhammad Shafee had asked whether the businessman prior to the appointment, had misrepresented himself as special advisor to TIA’s Board of Advisors chairman, then 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Previously, the court heard that Istana Negara on behalf of Sultan Mizan, who is the Sultan of Terengganu, had raised concerns over Jho Low’s roles in TIA, according to a minute of the company.
According to the minute, a representative of Istana Negara questioned who and what were Jho Low’s roles as the Palace was worried that the businessman had misused the King’s name at the material time.
Najib, 66, is facing four charges of abusing his position to corruptly obtain RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering related to the money.
The Pekan MP allegedly committed the four offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Jalan Raja Chulan branch, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014, and the 21 charges, between March 22, 2013, and Aug 30, 2013, at the same place.
The trial before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues today. — Bernama