Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10

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Rosmah said Jho Low, who would be around when Najib was in New York or London, was very obliging.

9.31am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak enters the court and takes a seat to await proceedings to begin.

Also present are his lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and other members of the defence team, as well as lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram and other DPPs.

Hari Anggara

9.36am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin with the resumption of cross-examination of his former special officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

9.41am: Sri Ram tells the court the Monday session will begin late as deputy public prosecutor Akram Gharib is appearing in another court.

Akram is filing an application to have Riza Aziz’s case transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Shafee tells the court he is also involved in the case.

9.42am: Shafee begins the cross-examination of the witness.

Shafee suggests that Jho Low had such close ties to the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) that the company shared an office with Utama Banking Group.

Amhari says he didn’t know that.

Amhari says while he was in Khazanah, he also received a salary of RM25,000 by Orb Solutions.

Shafee suggests Najib had no knowledge he was being paid by Orb Solutions.

Amhari disagrees.

10am: The court hears from Amhari that he was brought to witness MACC’s search at three houses in June last year.

This includes Amhari’s own house in Kota Damansara.

According to his testimony, MACC investigators went to his house on June 24 before searching an apartment at Persiaran Tropicana the next day.

He says that the apartment was not his.

MACC carried out a search in a condo unit at 3 Jalan Kia Peng after searching these two premises.

The court hears that MACC took a bundle of documents, two Blackberry phones, and several computers from Amhari’s house.

10.23am: Amhari says he destroyed many documents on Low’s orders save for those recovered by MACC.

Shafee: For a long time, you knew that Jho Low was a manipulator. You knew he was not right, that’s why you kept these documents?

Amhari: I disagree.

Shafee: This is why you led the MACC to places other than your house; you led them to another house. There’s a lady who lives there?

Amhari: My cousin.

Shafee: You kept a lot of important documents there at her place, why is that?

Amhari: Leading to the election last year, the chief of staff in the PMO had asked us to shred many documents and keep some relevant documents. At that time, it was busy because of election preparation. The election work I was doing was mostly done at my house. It so happened that my house was busy, and I needed help from my cousin. She helped me and I kept it. I thought I would get it back after, but I didn’t.

Shafee: Yes, but you never kept any important documents in your house. This was purposefully organised by you in the event there were issues with Jho Low.

Amhari: I disagree. The documents were just boxed that way.

Shafee: MACC says that you knew the boxes and pointed them out when you went to your cousin’s apartment.

Amhari: They asked to give full cooperation and I decided it was time to give my cooperation. When I was there at my cousin’s place, she pointed out the boxes, not me.

10.30am: Amhari says he had to identify the documents in his cousin’s apartment.

Shafee: I’m putting it to you, this was your method of concealing them to use in the future. This was not a “lepas pandang” situation.

Amhari: I disagree.

Shafee: I put it to you that after the interrogation you decided to work with them (MACC) for a lighter sentence. As we can see you have not been charged. This was a tit-for-tat exchange with the MACC.

Amhari: I disagree.

10.35am: Shafee refers to the part of Amhari’s witness statement where he describes his boss Azlin, unexpectedly losing his cool and slamming a file on his table when the 1MDB scandal broke in 2015. Azlin had shouted “Duit 1MDB-lah, bro!”.

Shafee: When Azlin said this, he could have meant many things. You didn’t clear that with him?

Amhari: Correct.

Shafee: I’m putting it to you that he could’ve meant what went into Jho Low’s purchases was 1MDB money, that’s why he said “Duit 1MDB-lah, bro.

Amhari: I can agree it’s one of the (possible) interpretations.

Shafee: Could he have said that because the person he thought he could trust, Jho Low, had betrayed the government? Is that one interpretation?

Amhari: I agree.

Shafee: Could his outburst have had to do with Najib?

Amhari: I don’t know.

10.45am: Shafee recalls the witness’ statement that Low was a master manipulator.

Shafee: You didn’t suggest that Najib was a manipulator. You are alleging against Jho Low.

Amhari: I’m saying Jho Low is a master manipulator.

Shafee: You’re not saying your former boss was a manipulator?

Amhari: Correct.

Shafee: Just as you and Azlin have been manipulated by Jho Low. I’m suggesting that Najib also was manipulated by Jho Low.

Amhari: I agree. There’s a possibility. Can I add?

Shafee: No, I’m not interested in your adding.

10.48am: Shafee asks Amhari about the documents Xavier Justo sold to MACC.

Amhari says he is aware of it.

Shafee shows him an article based on Justo’s documents entitled ‘How Petrosaudi executives plotted what to tell Najib’.

The article was published by The Edge, which Shafee does not mention.

Shafee suggests that Petrosaudi executives Patrick Mahony and Tarek Obaid tried to conceal information from Najib.

Shafee submits the article as exhibit.

11.00am: Court takes a recess.

11.26am: Proceedings resume.

Shafee tells judge Sequerah there are many parts in the witness statement that are hearsay and he will make a submission on them. Sequerah asks him to submit it at the end of the prosecution’s case.

11.28am: Shafee continues cross-examination. He comes to the part in the witness’ statement where Amhari talks about going to China and Abu Dhabi to discuss a bailout for 1MDB.

Amhari clarifies that it wasn’t a bailout. He says that this was to cover up something. He says he went to China to ensure cooperation between China and Malaysia. He says that Najib did not ask him to speak about 1MDB there.

11.55am: Amhari says that he was very nervous and scared about meeting Chinese officials in China.

Shafee: You keep stressing your importance in China as if you were 007 James Bond.

Amhari: That’s not true. I followed Jho Low and played along.

12.03pm: Shafee suggests Amhari manoeuvred his way to Abu Dhabi to cover up the IPIC deal so that it did not come to Najib’s attention.

Amhari disagrees

Shafee suggests Amhari and Jho Low conspired to defraud 1MDB.

Shafee: I suggest this. Don’t just smile at me.

Amhari: I disagree.

Najib kept quiet when informed that the proposed China-Malaysia joint projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) were to bail out 1MDB, claims Amhari.

The eighth witness testifies that he told Najib that the China-Malaysia proposed projects in 2016, including the ECRL, were to pay 1MDB debts.

Amhari says he thought part of the talking points provided by Jho Low for the former’s trip to China for talks in 2016, which stated that the projects were meant to bail out 1MDB, was illegal.

Amhari: I told Najib that this is to pay 1MDB debts.

Shafee: You brought this up in memo?

Amhari: No.

Shafee: What did he (Najib) say?

Amhari: He kept quiet.

Shafee: These are your own words in court with nothing else, just your own words, a witness who is entirely not (free of) blame, a colourful witness.

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The lawyer tells the court that they might do the submission either at the end of the prosecution’s case or by an interim submission.

Justice Sequerah tells Shafee to submit it at the end of the prosecution case.

12.08pm: Sri Ram objects to Shafee’s line of questioning.

12.15pm: Shafee suggests the witness and Low acted in tandem to misinform Najib.

Amhari disagrees.

12.26pm: Najib calls Shafee to the dock to confer for a short while before continuing with the cross-examination.

The defence confronts Amhari with a company certificate that allegedly shows Amhari as the sole owner of Aabar Investment PJS Ltd.

Shafee then puts it to Amhari that the latter owned the company, which he described as the fake Aabar, through Tycoon Gain Ltd, which also owned Aerosphere Ltd.

It had been mentioned earlier in the trial that Aerosphere was Amhari’s company, through which he had opened an account with BSI Bank in Singapore under Jho Low’s instructions.

The witness, however, denies knowledge of this matter.

Shafee: I’m putting to you that as Aerosphere is owned by Tycoon Gain Ltd, (and) Aabar Investments PJS Ltd is owned by the same company, which means you are the owner of Aerosphere Ltd as well as Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

Amhari: I don’t know this.

The witness also agrees that the document shows that Tycoon Gain and Aerosphere Ltd were using the same office, as it shares the same address.

Shafee then tells Amhari that he had concealed this information about ownership of the fake Aabar from MACC and also the court because he wanted to conceal his role in the 1MDB scandal.

The former aide to Najib, however, disagrees to this.

12.39pm: Shafee asks Amhari if he remembers Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Amhari says he does: “He’s a good man.”

12.40pm: The court hears from Amhari that an email he received from Jho Low on April 22, 2015, suggested that Najib should follow Low’s plan in resolving 1MDB issues.

This was for Najib to use Low’s idea rather than that of Arul, who was then the 1MDB CEO.

Amhari, however, disagrees that this put him in the same camp with Jho Low against Arul.

12.48pm: Shafee ends his cross-examination and apologises to Sequerah for taking longer than promised.

Sri Ram begins his re-examination.

He asks Amhari several questions on e-mail received from Jho Low in 2015.

12.53pm: Amhari says on many occasions as a special officer, his job was to mediate different opinions.

“So, when there was a conflict of opinion, I was the facilitator to bring up to the PM.”

Sri Ram: Does your submission included influencing the prime minister?

Amhari: No.

12:55: Sri Ram then tells the court that he has some other areas to question Amhari.

The court breaks for lunch.

2.40pm: Court is in session and Sri Ram resumes re-examination of the witness.

Sri Ram asks Amhari about his trips to Abu Dhabi and China, specifically if he had gone to the Malaysian embassy in China.

Amhari says no.

Sri Ram: You also went to Abu Dhabi. On whose instructions?

Amhari: On Najib’s instructions.

Sri Ram: Were these instructions given out at one meeting or separate meetings?

Amhari: Separate.

2.45pm: Amhari says after his trips to both countries, he asked to see the prime minister to report about his visits. He says they were light discussions about his trips with Najib.

“Najib did ask me about Jho Low, if everything (is) real over there (China). And I said, he is there, and proper projects are being discussed,” Amhari says.

Amhari then elaborates that Najib was trying to confirm “if Jho Low could really get the China projects”.

2.52pm: Amhari testifies that he did not inform the Malaysian embassy about his visit to Abu Dhabi because it was a special mission entrusted by Najib.

Amhari is answering Sri Ram’s question on why the former did not inform the Malaysian embassy in Abu Dhabi when he went there to discuss how to settle a 1MDB-related issue.

Sri Ram: When you went to Abu Dhabi, did you know that we have an embassy there?

Amhari: I think so.

Sri Ram: Did you contact the embassy in Abu Dhabi?

Amhari: No.

Sri Ram: Why not?

Amhari: I took it as a special mission that Najib asked me to do.

2.53pm: Amhari says he never saw anyone else when he visited the two countries as he was under the impression that they were “secret missions”.

3pm: Amhari disagrees that MACC had used the “carrot and stick” approach to compel him to incriminate Najib.

Amhari testifies this when asked by Sri Ram during re-examination.

The defence had earlier tried to put to Amhari that he was placed under pressure to give evidence against Najib.

3.07pm: Amhari testifies that Najib did not pose a personal threat to the eighth witness.

Instead, it was Najib’s supporters who may take matters into their own hands, Amhari tells Sri Ram during re-examination.

Amhari: I did not feel a personal threat from Najib, but as prime minister, he would have all the necessary power to at least create some instability. I am being polite here.

Sri Ram: In what?

Amhari: In my livelihood. A PM would have all the power to do things. He has a lot of support. It is not necessary that he works with the supporters, but the supporters can take their own thinking and action.

Sri Ram: You mean take matters into their own hands?

Amhari: Yes.

Sri Ram: Who was the PM?

Amhari: Najib.

Amhari adds that the threat was always there as he considered himself stuck in the middle.

“So, when I was asked about the threat (in previous proceedings), to me it does not matter because whatever route I took, there will be threats.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

“So, what I did was I looked at my religion and to tell the truth, and hope that it will save me,” Amhari says.

When Sri Ram asks “further threats from where?”, Amhari says that it “can be from any stakeholders in this trial, whoever they are or whatever group they are from”.

Sri Ram: One of the stakeholders, in this case, is the MACC, did they threaten you?

Amhari: No.

Sri Ram: Then who?

Amhari: It can be the current government or the previous government.

Sri Ram: It was put to you that you were in cahoots with Low. What was your role in EPU?

Amhari: My role was to attend meetings with Efendi Norwawi.

Sri Ram: So, you were a glorified office boy?

Amhari: If you say so.

Sri Ram: You remember under cross-examination that you were asked about the meeting at Istana Terengganu, you were sent there and Jho Low introduced you?

Amhari: Yes.

Sri Ram: From your observation, how was the relationship between the Sultan (of Terengganu) and Jho Low? Hostile? Affectionate?

Amhari: Probably in the middle. He (Sultan Mizan) was open to listening.

Sri Ram: How would you describe the meeting?

Amhari: Santai (relaxed), very relaxed. We went with Azizz, the brother-in-law of the then Agong. We sat there. I was expecting a meeting room, but it was more like a tea-setting.

Amhari says the meeting was not hostile and that it was an informal meeting.

Previously, the court heard that the Terengganu Palace was displeased with Jho Low. Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 2006 to 2011.

Sri Ram: You were working with the accused as when he was deputy prime minister and prime minister. You have said you had interactions with Low and Najib. When you interacted with Low, were any of them in the prime minister’s office?

Amhari: No. Most of them were outside the office. Most were at Prince Hotel. In 2015, when Low left the country, the communications were through email.

Sri Ram: Who put Low in a position where he could be close to the accused?

Amhari: Najib.

3.40pm: Amhari says his China trip was very difficult because of the 1MDB issues. He says it was a known fact that Low was connected to 1MDB. When he was asked to go to China by Najib, he was okay with it, but then Najib told him Low would be organising the rest of the trip.

Amhari: This was when I got sceptical. It was very difficult. I did not want to be included if everything was wrong with 1MDB, I wanted to be the best officer and loyal to Najib. I tried my best.

Sri Ram: It was put to you that your memory is terrible. But this one event you could remember in your witness statement. What was the purpose of the 1MDB FAQ?

Amhari: These were answers to questions that would be asked.

Amhari says the statement in the FAQ about Low’s involvement was not true.

3.50pm: Sri Ram now goes on to Rosmah.

Sri Ram: In one of your meetings, Rosmah called Low. How did you know that?

Amhari: She has a unique voice, I knew it was her as I was familiar with her voice. Low also told me it was her. I have spoken to her also.

Sri Ram: Remember when you said she spoke fondly of Low, when was that?

Amhari: This was a Hari Raya recording shooting. Low wasn’t there. I can’t remember how I had the opportunity to talk to Rosmah. She raised his name, I said I know him, and she said that he was very obliging.

Sri Ram: Now, I want to talk about trips to New York. How many times did you go?

Amhari: Two or three times.

Sri Ram: Who accompanied him (Najib)?

Amhari: Rosmah and his other entourage.

Sri Ram: Was Low there?

Amhari: Most of the time when we were in New York or London, he would be around.

Sri Ram: Did you see him with the prime minister?

Amhari: He used to make appointments to meet with the prime minister when he was there.

Sri Ram: You saw him (Jho Low) mixing with PM there?

Amhari: I saw him (Jho Low) meeting PM in a hotel for an appointment.

4pm: The court hears from Amhari that he had never touched the US$800,000 that was deposited into his BSI bank account, which he opened under the instruction of Jho Low.

He testifies that he also did not know what happened to the money or the account.

4.05pm: Court takes a short break.

4.19pm: Proceedings resume.

Sri Ram: When the accused was PM, what resources did he have in terms of intelligence and information?

Amhari: All the government agencies, including the Special Branch, MIO or military intelligence, and PMO intelligence. That is all I remember at the moment.

Sri Ram: Did he (Najib) had access to MACC?

Amhari: Yes.

Sri Ram: From your experience working with the accused as PM, did he receive briefings from intelligence?

Amhari: I am not sure how frequently but as PM, he received all intelligence updates.

4.30pm: The court hears that Arul Kanda had once raised doubt about Jho Low to Najib.

According to Amhari, this happened during a meeting at Najib’s house, when Arul Kanda asked the politician if all that were said by Low was true.

These include 1MDB’s “fund units”, says Amhari.

Amhari is referring to the alleged fund units that 1MDB had kept as investments.

Although he did not specify the exact year, it is believed that this occurred sometime in 2016, as he tells the court the meeting was held around the time he (Amhari) was assigned to negotiate with IPIC.

Amhari testifies that Najib only listened and did not react to Arul Kanda.

4.38pm: The court hears from Amhari that Najib continued to interact with Jho Low even after the latter’s alleged con on Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud’s son Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib became public in 2009.

Sri Ram: It was put to you that it (Jho Low deceiving Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib) was in the public domain. Everybody knows about it.

Amhari: I don’t know.

Sri Ram: According to a question put to you by my learned friend, it would be around this time, 2008 or 2009?

Amhari: Yes.

Sri Ram: My question is this. After this became public knowledge, did the accused continue to interact with Jho Low? After 2009, that he (Jho Low) was a con man, (that he) practised a trick on (son of) Tun Taib Mahmud?

Amhari: Yes.

4.40pm: Sequerah adjourns the trial to Monday next week.

Sri Ram informs the court that the prosecution may have several more questions to ask in the re-examination of Amhari, on Monday.

Earlier reports:

Sept 18, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day Nine

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