Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine

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Allegedly, Najib’s former aide Amhari is being sued by Jasmine Loo, an associate of Jho Low, at the Virgin Islands court.

9.29am: Najib Razak enters the court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to await proceedings to begin.

9.36am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings resume for the cross-examination of Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin by the defence.

9.45am: Today’s proceedings will adjourn at 11.30am to allow Najib to see a specialist over a haze-related eye problem.

In allowing the application by Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah reminds all parties that proceedings will resume at 2.30pm.

Sequerah also adds that proceedings will go beyond 5pm today.

9.50am: Amhari takes the stand.

9.55am: Shafee describes Amhari as having a “jaundiced” view on his role in a Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) meeting in June 2009.

He gave Amhari this label for allegedly failing to address the issue of Jho Low misrepresenting himself as a representative of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 2009.

According to minutes of the TIA meeting on June 30, 2009, a representative of the Agong had complained that Jho Low was going around representing himself as the Agong’s representative.

Shafee: I put it to you that you have a jaundiced way of looking at it and you are not looking at it from a proper perspective.

“In the (TIA) meetings, you should have contributed to such serious content, which is the character of Low. You failed to act as the representative of the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office),” says Shafee.

The witness counters that he was a junior officer at that time ad was merely following orders.

Amhari says he could only raise the matter with his immediate superior, who would then raise it with Najib.

Shafee: Is there a prohibition on junior officers from speaking?

Amhari: No.

Shafee: So, you can speak (on issues) at the (TIA) meetings?

Amhari: Yes. But all civil servants understand that sometimes, you just do not talk, you listen and later talk (to an immediate superior). That is the normal culture.

Shafee: I was a public servant for eight years and that does not happen.

10am: Amhari tells the court that a representative of Istana Negara had questioned the role of Jho Low in the setting up of the sovereign wealth fund in a TIA meeting.

Amhari testifies that the meeting which took place on June 2009 was attended by, among others, one Tuan Haji Wan Ismail Wan Nik as the then-Yang DiPertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin’s representative, Terengganu Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) representatives, and TIA CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Tuanku Mizan was also the ruler of Terengganu. The defence established during yesterday’s hearing that TIA was Tuanku Mizan’s idea.

Amhari confirms the meeting minutes which stated that Tuanku Mizan’s representative had raised doubts about Low’s role and the possibility that the ruler’s name could have been abused by unscrupulous parties.

10.10am: Amhari tells the court during cross-examination that he did not inform then-prime minister Najib of concerns raised about Jho Low during the 2009 TIA meeting.

He says then-Treasury secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz, who chaired the TIA meeting on June 30, 2009, would brief Najib about it and he did not ask Wan Abdul Aziz if he had told Najib about the matter.

Shafee asks why didn’t Amhari raise to Najib Low’s misrepresentation.

Amhari says getting access to the former prime minister was difficult.

He says as a junior officer he did not have that access, adding he only had access to Najib after working for six months.

Shafee puts forth that Amhari had kept quiet about the doubts on Low’s misrepresentation because he was close to the businessperson.

Shafee: You kept quiet because you were close to Jho Low.

Amhari: I disagree.

10.37pm: Shafee asks Amhari if he regarded the misrepresentation as a serious matter.

Amhari says yes.

He says he had to go through a lot of channels (to get access to Najib).

10.40am: Shafee asks Amhari if he sent a memo to Najib on the matter.

Amhari says no.

10.46am: Shafee asks Amhari if he told Najib’s chief of staff Ab Aziz Rahim about the meeting.

Amhari says yes.

Shafee suggests to Amhari that he didn’t put it in writing because he was protecting Low.

Amhari says no.

Shafee then suggests everyone was quite happy to be in the company of Low.

11.08am: Shafee asks Amhari who gave the name 1MDB that was sighted on a document.

Amhari says he doesn’t know and that 1Malaysia brand programmes were popular at the time.

Shafee asks if the title came from the Prime Minister’s Office where he was attached.

Amhari says he doesn’t know.

Shafee asks if it is from former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Amhari says he doesn’t know.

11.20am: The court hears that the transfer of TIA ownership to the federal government was completed on Aug 12, 2009.

This is based on a RM1,000,002.00 shares certificate that Shafee highlighted to Amhari.

Shafee: Document Vol 2 Tab 37 is the share certificate for RM1,000,002 dated Aug 12, 2009. So, the ownership transfer is completed now?

Amhari: Correct.

Shafee says Low had influence on TIA and 1MDB.

Amhari says yes.

Shafee says the Finance Ministry confirmed the name was changed to 1MDB in September 2009.

11.24am: Judge Sequerah allows proceedings to temporarily adjourn.

This is to allow Najib to meet a specialist over his eye problem.

Yusof Mat Isa

2.08pm: Proceedings resume.

2.18pm: Amhari was detained in July last year upon returning from a family holiday to Thailand and Cambodia.

When Shafee asked whether this was the trip where Amhari tried to transfer the BSI money, the witness said it was not.

2.35pm: Amhari tells the court that he was the one who led MACC investigators to an apartment located at 3 Jalan Kia Peng where Jho Low stayed and where he previously had meetings with the 1MDB-linked businessperson.

Amhari says he had disclosed to MACC that Low had conducted a briefing on plans for the Terengganu Investment Authority in the kitchen of the apartment back in 2008.

He added that he had been to the apartment twice.

2.45pm: Shafee reviews in court several photographs downloaded from the Internet on the 2018 arrest of Amhari.

Amhari looks through photos of him leading MACC officers to an apartment at 3 Jalan Kia Peng in Kuala Lumpur.

He confirms photos of a whiteboard in the apartment as well as a safe which had been opened by MACC officers containing an undisclosed amount of money (the amount is not stated).

Earlier, Amhari had testified that Jho Low used a whiteboard to brief him on plans for TIA back in 2008.

3pm: Shafee makes reference to a search list dated June 27, 2018, in an attempt to jog Amhari’s memory on his arrest by MACC and the raid on Jho Low’s apartment at 3 Jalan Kia Peng.

The lawyer used the Internet-sourced document during his cross-examination of Amhari.

Shafee: This search document is dated June 27, 2018. It does not mean the search (on Low’s apartment) was on that date, it could be on the same day or earlier, right?

Amhari: Yes.

When Shafee asks Amhari the reason given by MACC said for his arrest, the witness says he only knows it was related to 1MDB and TIA rather than anything more specific.

3.10pm: Amhari tells the court that Jho Low had previously given him money for travel expenses.

This was apart from the US$200,000 which Low had allegedly loaned him in 2010.

According to Amhari, Low had given him money for travel expenses during overseas trips, including trips when accompanying Najib on official matters.

The money includes several thousand US dollars during an official trip with Najib to New York and another amount which Amhari said he could not recall during a trip to London.

Amhari says that there were other occasions where he had received money from Low but could not remember all of them.

Low was also “usually there” during the trips, the witness adds.

Amhari testifies that he is not aware of other officers receiving money from Low.

Earlier, he testifies that he cannot recall for which offence MACC had remanded him last year except that it definitely something to do with 1MDB.

3.15pm: Amhari met with former BSI banker Yvonne Seah in Singapore just before she was jailed over suspicious monetary transactions linked to 1MDB.

Edgar Su/Reuters

Amhari testifies that he, Najib’s then-chief private secretary Azlin Alias and Jho Low met with Seah at a hotel room in Singapore.

He says that Seah had brought a lot of documents for Azlin to sign and he merely followed suit to also sign documents.

Shafee: With regards to Aerosphere Limited, you must have signed all the incorporation documents or transfer documents. This lady, Seah, came to your hotel room when you were in Singapore with Azlin and Jho Low.

She brought a lot of documents. You must have signed some.

Amhari: Yes, I signed whatever Azlin signed.

Shafee: But Azlin signed a different account.

Amhari: Yes, but the officer (Seah) passed (me some documents to sign).

Shafee: I want you to provide the name. Is it Yvonne Seah Yew Foong?

Amhari: I just call her Yvonne.

On Dec 16, 2016, the media reported that Seah, 45, pleaded guilty to three of seven charges at a Singapore court, with one charge for failing to report suspicious transactions and two counts of forgery.

It was reported that Seah had managed Jho Low’s account at the BSI Bank in Singapore.

Seah was jailed for two weeks and ordered to pay S$10,000 for failing to report a series of suspicious transactions where tens of millions came in and out of multiple accounts linked to Jho Low, among others.

3.26pm: The court hears that Amhari is allegedly being sued by Jasmine Loo, an associate of Jho Low, at the Virgin Islands court.

Shafee makes this claim by producing the purported cause papers during Amhari’s cross-examination.

Shafee: Were you recently sued by Jasmine Loo?

Amhari: Not that I am aware.

Shafee: Are you sure? There is this Jasmine Loo Ai Swan who on July 29, 2019, filed (the suit) at 3.04pm at the Virgins Islands Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean. Have you seen this document?

Amhari: No.

3.45pm: A banking document produced in court establishes that Amhari had received US$200,000 from Jho Low on April 5, 2011, through a wire transfer into his Maybank account.

Previously, Amhari had testified that based on his memory, the money was transferred in 2010.

He says that he took the money from Low as a “bridging loan” to settle his outstanding housing loan so he can buy a new house.

Amhari explains that the bridging loan was to allow him to buy a new house in Kota Damansara while trying to sell his older house.

He had planned to sell the house for RM700,000.

3.51pm: Shafee asks Amhari if the kitchen was Jho Low’s office as there was printer, white board and other office equipment.

Amhari says he doesn’t know. He says it looks like work could be done there.

Shafee then asks if there was an office in the apartment.

Amhari says there was one room like an office and two bedrooms.

Shafee then asks him if it was used as an office.

Amhari says he doesn’t know.

Shafee says most of the people who attended meetings there said it was used as a safe house and that Amhari went not twice but often.

Amhari disagrees.

3.59pm: Court takes a short recess.

4.30pm: Amhari is unsure if Najib was ever aware of the talking points that Jho Low allegedly prepared for the former’s trip to China on June 28, 2016.

According to Paragraph 168 of Amhari’s written witness statement, Low had prepared the talking points for Amhari’s trip to China.

He was allegedly instructed by Najib’s to travel to China and confirm economic cooperation between Malaysia and the People’s Republic.

In the witness statement, Amhari said that Low gave guidance to him on what to say during the meeting in China.

4.38pm: Shafee asks if the US$200,000 that was transferred to his Maybank account was from Jho Low.

Amhari says it was a loan to buy a house.

Shafee asks if the funds transferred were in US dollars or ringgit.

Amhari says he thinks it was in dollars.

Shafee asks if Amhari knew that he had to get permission receive foreign currency.

Amhari said he didn’t know.

Shafee asks Amhari why he didn’t know if he had worked for Bank Negara.

Amhari said Bank Negara was huge and he didn’t know about transaction rules as he worked in another division.

5.03pm: Shafee asks Amhari if he knew that receiving foreign currency is an offence.

Amhari said he didn’t know it was an offence.

5.18pm: Amhari tells the court that he didn’t know as the Maybank officer did not inform him of any discrepancies.

He says if there were any issues, the Maybank officer would have alerted him.

Amhari says there were no queries on the US dollar transaction, so he thought that there were no issues.

Shafee puts it to Amhari that the US$200,000 was not a loan, but a gift from Jho Low.

Amhari disagrees.

5.29pm: Judge Sequerah asks Amhari to bring all the documents requested by Shafee.

Court adjourned until 9.30am tomorrow.


Earlier reports:

Sept 18, Najib’s Ex-Aide Led MACC to Raid on Jho Low’s Apartment

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Halted Briefly for Najib to See Eye Specialist

Sept 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Eight

Sept 17, Witness Identifies Riza Aziz, Arul Kanda and Five Others as Key Players in 1MDB Saga

Sept 17, Bono, Queen of Jordan, Rosmah Floated as Trustees for TIA

Sept 17, Witness Says 1MDB Najib’s Baby, Defence Claims It Was Terengganu Sultan’s Idea

Sept 11, Najib’s Eye Infection Halts 1MDB Trial

Sept 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Six

Sept 10, Rosmah Fond of Jho Low

Sept 10, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Provided Scripted Responses to Deny His Involvement in 1MDB

Sept 10, Istana Negara Questioned Jho Low’s Role in 1MDB Predecessor TIA

Sept 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Five

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Judge Raps Shafee over Najib’s Tardiness

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Took US$200K Loan from Jho Low to Buy Property

Sept 5, 1MDB Trial: Najib’s Ex-Aide Accused of Lying

Sept 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Four

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Mudabala CEO Was Promised All Sorts of Things

Sept 4, Najib’s Ex-Aide, Jho Low on “Secret China Mission” to Bail Out 1MDB

Sept 4, Jho Low Ordered Najib’s Ex-Aides to Open Overseas Bank Accounts

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Three

Sept 3, Najib’s Ex-Aide: Jho Low Drew Out Wealth Fund Concept on Kitchen Whiteboard

Sept 3, Jho Low Gave Possibly Forged Letters from Saudi Arabia to Stop 1MDB Probe

Sept 3, Only Najib and Jho Low Knew “Full Picture” of 1MDB Plan

Sept 3, Jho Low in Najib’s Inner Circle

Aug 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Two

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day One

Aug 28, Shafee: Prove Najib Knew Arab Donation Letter Faked, Jho Low Is Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Shafee Again Questions Sri Ram’s Appointment

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Gopal Sri Ram’s Full Opening Statement

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Prosecution to Show Saudi Donations a Sham

Aug 28, Najib’s 1 MDB Trial: Prosecution to Prove Jho Low Was Najib’s Alter Ego

Aug 28, Najib’s 1MDB Trial Begins