KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 -- Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told the High Court today he had been in contact with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low on “a few occasions” over the operation of his AmBank personal accounts.
Najib, 67, was answering a series of questions from ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram in relation to a thread of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats between then AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu and Jho Low in 2014 that seemed to show that Jho Low was involved in ensuring that there was always sufficient funds in Najib’s accounts.
Sithambaram read out the chats between Yu and Jho Low on the balance amount in Najib’s three accounts and the need to ensure there were sufficient funds for Najib to issue cheques. He also referred the Pekan MP to the bank statements that corresponded to the accounts.
The bank statements stated personal purchases to the tune of 763,500 Euros (RM3.28 million) made by Najib at a Swiss luxury jewellery store in Italy.
Sithambaram: This is clear that Jho Low was making sure that you have enough money to issue cheques. Is this correct, sir?
Najib: It would appear so.
Sithambaram: It is clear that Jho Low was making sure all transactions were honoured, correct sir?
Sithambaram: And from these transactions and conversations, Jho Low verified the accounts to the bank for the purpose of ensuring sufficient funds for you to use your credit cards and issue cheques, correct sir?
Sithambaram: I put it to you, these BBM chats would show that Jho Low was on some occasions in contact with you, to ensure the cards and cheques were honoured.
Najib: It was through Datuk Azlin Alias (Najib’s former principal private secretary).
Sithambaram: But on some occasions with Jho Low?
Najib: A few occasions. On very few occasions.
Sithambaram: Few occasions, he liaised with you?
Yesterday, Najib testified that he was kept informed of the status of his personal bank accounts mostly by Azlin and sometimes by SRC International Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil but with Jho Low it was only for remittance with regard to Arab donations.
Najib, however, disagreed that he had actual knowledge of the status of his three personal accounts at all times.
Sithambaram also asked Najib why he prevented former finance minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah from going to Switzerland to recover the money loaned by SRC International from Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP).
In response, Najib reiterated that the request from Ahmad Husni was not formal.
Sithambaram: You would agree that SRC, as a company, seeking the Swiss government to release frozen money would not be as effective as if the government had sent a representative to secure the money?
Najib: That is debatable.
Sithambaram: This money belongs to a legitimate government pension fund. If the finance minister or the second finance minister went, it would have been more effective. I can't imagine otherwise. Why couldn't Ahmad Husni retrieve it?
Najib: It would be more effective with a proper plan.
Sithambaram: Did you tell him to get a proper plan?
Najib: I didn't tell him that but I wanted a proper plan.
Sithambaram: I put it to you that you didn't want him to go and bring the funds back.
Najib: I disagree.
Najib also testified that the Cabinet had not been referred to when the second SRC International loan was defaulting as the matter was already under his purview as the prime minister.
Najib is making his defence on seven charges of misappropriating RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, comprising three counts of criminal breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of position in relation to the SRC funds.
The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes on Jan 20.
The judge reminded Najib not to discuss the case or to post any statement on social media in relation to the case as he has to continue with his testimony and that he is still under oath.
Malaysia National News Agency
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