Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 40

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Former AmBank MD detested Jho Low, calling him a liar and saying he was never punctual.

9.22am: Proceedings are delayed as prosecutors attend to a hearing before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on a motion seeking to vacate the 1MDB trial dates from August 19 onwards.

9.26am: Tommy Thomas yesterday said the prosecution wishes to conclude the SRC International case before starting Najib’s four other trials. Thomas had requested judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali to vacate the Isa Samad trial dates in September as well. The judge replies he wishes to hear Sequerah’s decision first.

9.46am: After hearing submissions, including from the defence, Sequerah says he will deliver his ruling this afternoon.

9.47am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery to begin proceedings.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and DPPs are also seen in the courtroom.

10.16am: Proceedings begin.

10.20am: Thomas makes an application for Najib to issue a full and unconditional apology over the accused’s Facebook post regarding his credit card spending.

Thomas tells judge Nazlan that the accused’s action amounts to committing sub judice, and that he should be treated like any other accused in this matter.

Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh then requests a brief adjournment to seek instruction from his client, which is granted by the judge.

10.27am: Court resumes. Harvinderjit asks for this issue to be dealt with later today when lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah comes back from another matter.

Thomas says he is amiable with it being addressed later, as long as it is dealt with by today.

10.29am: Yesterday’s witness, former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang, takes the stand to resume his cross-examination by Harvinderjit.

10.38am: Harvinderjit suggests that Joanna Yu was in contact with Jho Low about Najib’s accounts. Cheah says he is not sure.

Cheah says in his position at AmBank, he didn’t keep tabs of accounts or account holders.

10.50am: Cheah tells the court that he knew about Najib returning a donation amounting to US$620 million to its sender in 2013.

He says that he knew this from then AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu, who contacted him for assistance to get quick approval from the central bank.

Cheah, however, denies that he had received a letter from the former premier stating his intention to return the sum.

10.58am: Harvinderjit implies Cheah had much more to do with Najib’s accounts but Cheah disagrees.

He says he stepped down as the bank’s director so he was not so involved.

Cheah says Yu did not inform him that Najib’s accounts were for the purpose of receiving political donations.

11am: Cheah tells the court that he accompanied his successor Ashok Ramamurthy on a visit to discuss Najib’s bank accounts with then-Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz sometime in 2013 or 2014.

Cheah testifies that his presence at the meeting was only due to his familiarity with the governor, compared to Ashok.

“The story behind it is, there was a special request for me to go with Ashok, because Ashok was new to the (Bank Negara) governor.

“I had nothing to do with it,” the witness says under cross-examination by defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

11.06am: Harvinderjit asks Cheah if he had a BlackBerry and a Samsung phone, and if Low had given him those phones.

Cheah says he bought them himself. He agrees he had those phones, but Low did not buy them for him.

11.10am: The court hears from Cheah that he had never trusted Jho Low.

Testifying under cross-examination by defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, Cheah says that he “detests” Low.

He also agrees with Harvinderjit that Jho Low could be described as a liar.

The witness’ line of remarks comes as he is being queried about a series of BlackBerry Messenger conversations between former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu and a person believed to be Low.

Harvinderjit asks Cheah about one of the conversations, in which Low purportedly told Yu that he had spoken to Cheah about a certain matter and that the latter would be relaying it to then-AmBank Group chairperson Azman Hashim.

“What she (Joanna Yu) said to Jho Low, I don’t know. I don’t talk to Jho Low.

“And 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,” Cheah testifies.

Harvinderjit then asks: “Would you call him a liar?”

Cheah replies, “A liar lah. I don’t like it. I detest him. Cannot get close to that kind of person.”

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

11.13am: Harvinderjit concludes his cross-examination and the witness is released.

11.15am: The 51st witness is called to the stand.

Chee Suwen is the former company secretary for SRC, from 2015 to 2018. His job was to prepare board minutes and statutory documents.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

He says he took possession of the statutory records of SRC when he took the job.

11.28am: Chee says after he prepared director circular resolutions, he waited for the document to be returned to his office after having obtained signatures of three directors.

11.30am: He says halfway through a particular board meeting, officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) came to the office to ask if certain transactions were approved by the board.

Chee says the board had the power to make those decisions.

12.09pm: Witness is let go from the stand.

12.38pm: Court registrar S Mageswary is called to the stand. She works at the civil court. She is a senior assistant registrar.

Her role is to register civil cases, process court documents and adhere to instructions given by the judge.

12.40pm: The prosecution asks her if the MACC made a request to ask for documents for a civil case.

She says the MACC requested for pleading documents for a certain case. The case was a defamation suit for Najib against former MCA leader Ling Liong Sik.

She is currently verifying the documents.

12.43pm: The Kuala Lumpur High Court is permitting the prosecution to tender court documents related to Najib’s defamation suit against Ling.

Nazlan allows the application by DPP Muhammad Izzat Fauzan, overruling objections by Harvinderjit, who argues that the cause paper is not relevant to the present criminal trial.

DPP V Sithambaram counters that it is relevant as the court document is related to the current charges.

It was reported in May last year, that Najib had retracted his suit against Lim over an allegation that the former prime minister had misused government funds.

12.55pm: Izzat tells the court that parties in the hearing have to appear before Sequerah at 2pm for a decision on an application to postpone the 1MDB trial.

Harvinderjit then asked if the court can allow the lunch break to be extended to 2.45pm.

Nazlan allows the request.

The trial is adjourned.

2.43pm: Court resumes with Mageswary taking the stand to be cross-examined by Harvinderjit.

2.45pm: Mageswary says the documents are affidavits in the defamation suit Najib filed against Ling. The witness is let go from the stand.

2.47pm: Shafee asks Nazlan that Thomas’ application for Najib to apologise for the Facebook posts about the case be addressed on Monday to give the defence lawyer time to confer with the former prime minister.

2.48pm: Nazlan asks if Najib will write more posts until Monday. The A-G asks for the judge to give an undertaking.

Shafee says that at the beginning of the trial, they had asked for a gag order but it was denied and now they want to gag his client.

2.49pm: Shafee says Najib wrote the Facebook post because the press had been unfair in reporting the case.

2.50pm: Shafee assures the judge that Najib will not make any controversial statement until Monday.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

2.54pm: Shafee says he needs the time so that he doesn’t give a “knee-jerk” submission.

2.55pm: Shafee says Najib gave his point of view because the media is prejudiced and selectively reported proceedings. He says his client’s political career may suffer if he doesn’t give his point of view.

2.57pm: Thomas asks Shafee to clarify his stance. He says freedom of speech is not absolute in any country, especially Malaysia. He says the fact that Najib is a politician does not matter, as the former PM is just another accused.

2.58pm: He says it is the prosecution’s case, and the press was reporting the prosecution’s version of the case. Tommy says Najib, when and if he takes the stand, can give his version of accounts.

2.59pm: Tommy asks that Najib stand up in court and declare that he will not post anything about the case till Monday.

3.02pm: “Any further public posting risks contempt”, Nazlan sternly reminds Najib.

3.04pm: Next witness, Fauziah Yaacob, takes the stand. She is a retired civil servant and was deputy secretary of investments at the Finance Ministry.

3.09pm: She says Minister of Finance Inc was under her purview. She says SRC and 1MDB were among the more than 100 companies under MoF Inc.

3.12pm: She says SRC did not have ministry officers on its board and did not have the supervision of the ministry.

3.15pm: The court hears from Fauziah that the Finance Ministry had wanted to appoint a representative on SRC’s board of directors in 2015.

She tells the court that the plan was made as MoF was not clear on the company’s area of business.

Additionally, the 51st witness says SRC was among the government companies that were always late in submitting its financial report to MoF.

She says these reasons were stated in a memorandum supported by then Finance Minister 2 Husni Hanadzlah, which also contained the nomination of her then-deputy Mohd Isa Hussain on the company’s board.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

Fauziah retired from the civil service on July 29, 2015.

3.20pm: Fauziah testifies that a division which supervises government companies under MoF Inc had tried to set up meetings and discussions with the management of SRC but did not receive any positive response.

“My officers informed that they had sent emails (to SRC) to set up meetings, but there was no positive response from the company,” she testifies under cross-examination by Harvinderjit.

Fauziah says that she is not sure to whom the emails were addressed to but believe that it should be to the company’s CEO.

3.38pm: After a short cross-examination by Harvinderjit, Fauziah is let go.

3.39pm: Prosecutor Sithambaram asks the court to be adjourned till Monday as they have run out of witnesses for the day.

3.43pm: Thomas tells Nazlan that the prosecution will appeal against judge Sequerah’s decision at the Court of Appeal and will file a certificate of urgency.

3.54pm: Court adjourned till Monday.


Earlier reports:

July 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 39

July 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 38

July 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 37

July 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 36

July 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 35

July 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 34

July 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 33

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 32

July 3, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 31

July 1, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 30

June 20, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 29

June 19, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 28

June 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 27

June 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 26

June 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 25

June 13, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 24

June 12, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 23

June 11, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 22

June 10, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 21

May 28, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 20

May 27, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 19

May 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 18

May 14, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 17

May 9, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 16

May 8, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 15

May 7, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 14

May 7, Najib Fails in Second Bid to Remove Sri Ram as 1MDB Lead Prosecutor

May 7, Najib Signed Guarantee Letter for RM2B KWAP Loan to SRC, KWAP Rules Breached

May 6, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 13

May 2, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 12

May 2, RM1M Golden Handshake in Final Month as PM for Najib

Apr 30, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 11

Apr 29, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 10

Apr 29, Court Throws Out Najib’s Application to Strike Out 7 SRC Charges, Trial to Go On

Apr 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Nine

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Eight

Apr 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Seven

Apr 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Six

Apr 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Five

Apr 17, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Four

Apr 16, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Three

Apr 15, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day Two

Apr 3, Najib Trial: Day One