Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Jho Low known as “PMO” in 1MDB board meetings was “the man”

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Low Taek Jho’s name was not mentioned in 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) board meetings but his instructions were instead described as “PMO” or the Prime Minister’s Office, the company’s former CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman told the court today.

Testifying as the 10th prosecution witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial involving over RM2 billion of 1MDB funds, Hazem said that Low “knew” about 1MDB’s internal information but acknowledged that he would have no problem sharing such information with Low.

“Like I told you, that’s the culture, he’s the man,” Hazem told the High Court.

Hazem yesterday told the court that Low was the one that ran the company, and that he was required even as 1MDB CEO to follow Low’s instructions whether or not he agreed with them.

Hazem had previously described Low as Najib’s trusted right-hand man, proxy and special adviser for 1MDB, but today explained how 1MDB board members sidestepped having Low’s name recorded in official documents as it was understood that the latter did not want this done.

Questioned by Najib’s lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed today, Hazem confirmed that he had never officially disclosed in 1MDB board meetings that he was being instructed by Low on the company’s affairs.

“Off the record, yes. If I speak to the chairman or board members, yes. There were times when the CFO was briefing the board, and if these were instructions by Jho Low, we would say ‘PMO’,” Hazem replied.

Aizuddin: Why can’t you say it is instructions from Jho Low, if you say the chairman of the board knows and other board members knows?

Hazem: Because obviously on record, he is not supposed to be there.

When asked how he had gotten the impression that Low’s directions or Low’s involvement in the management of 1MDB should not be put on record, Hazem said it was Low and the rest of the individuals that Low had “planted” into the organisation such as Jasmine Loo and other now-fugitives Jerome Lee and Terence Geh.

Asked if it was only Low who had said his name could never be mentioned in 1MDB board meetings or 1MDB documents despite being the person actually giving instructions on the company, Hazem said however that “everybody is aware and it’s understood that the name Jho Low is not supposed to be mentioned on record”.

Raja Faisal Hishan/The Star

“I think whatever it is, it is a rule basically that this name cannot be part of the company. That is the modus operandi,” he added.

Hazem joined 1MDB as chief operating officer in August 2012 and was its CEO from March 2013 to early January 2015.

Hazem added today that Low had told him even before he joined the company to not mention his name, noting that this was in a July 15, 2012 meeting at the Putrajaya Shangri-La with Low as Najib’s adviser and with Najib’s then principal private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias. That was Hazem’s first meeting with Low.

Aizuddin: Were you puzzled or taken aback, why can’t mention his name? Because obviously, if you were to direct me as an honest businessperson, I have to make full disclosure to the board?

Hazem: This is the culture that has been practised and this is not just any company, and this is a government-owned company, and the one who is controlling this is the most supreme power in the country.

Hazem stopped short of describing who was the “most supreme power” in the country.

Hazem agreed that full and frank disclosure is very important, as 1MDB was dealing with the people’s money, but later pinpointed Najib directly when questioned further by Wan Aizuddin.

Aizuddin: So, when Jho Low told you, ‘Don’t mention my name in any documents or minutes’, didn’t you question him that? You say this is not right, I’m not your puppet?

Hazem: This is the instruction. This is basically a company that is right on top of the PMO. The prime minister.

Najib’s 1MDB trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow morning. – MMO

Earlier reports:

Feb 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Ex-CEO says in 1MDB, you either follow instructions or quit

Jan 6, Najib’s 1MDB trial: Day 52

Jan 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 51

Sept 17, 2020, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 50

Sept 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 49

Sept 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 48

Sept 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 47

Sept 2, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 46

Sept 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 45

Aug 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 44

Aug 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 43

Aug 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 42

Aug 3, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 41

Jul 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Set to Last Until at Least June 2021

Jul 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 39

Jul 15, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 38

Jul 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 37

Jun 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 36

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 35

May 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 34

May 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 33

Nov 11, 2019, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 32

Nov 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 31

Nov 6, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 5, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 30

Nov 4, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 28

Nov 4, 1MDB Trial: Judge Reprimands Najib After Tg Piai Trip

Oct 31, Najib Calls in Sick with Swollen Eyes, 1MDB Trial Postponed Yet Again

Oct 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 27

Oct 29, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 26

Oct 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 25

Oct 24, Najib Asks Prosecution to Hand Over Justo’s Information Given to MACC

Oct 21, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 24

Oct 17, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 23

Oct 17, Jho Low Changed 1MDB Constitution to Give Najib Absolute Power

Oct 16, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 22

Oct 14, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 21

Oct 10, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 20

Oct 9, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 19

Oct 8, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 18

Oct 7, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 17

Oct 7, Some Umno People Envious of Jho Low-Najib Ties, Court Told

Oct 1, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 16

Oct 1, Arul Kanda Told Ex-1MDB CEO to Leave Country to Avoid PAC Meeting

Oct 1, Ex-1MDB CEO Paid RM99K Monthly, RM1.5M Bonus

Oct 1, Jho Low Helped Plan Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Trip to Sway Voters for GE13

Sept 30, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 15

Sept 30, Witness: Najib Used 1MDB to Raise Funds for GE13

Sept 26, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 14

Sept 26, Jho Low, Tim Leissner Played “Matchmaker” for Najib to Meet Goldman Sachs

Sept 26, US$9M Transferred from Jho Low’s Good Star to Riza Aziz’s Red Granite Pictures

Sept 26, Jho Low, Najib Faked Meeting Minutes to Move US$750M from 1MDB to PSI

Sept 26, Najib Agreed to 1MDB Borrowing RM3B from SOCSO to Lend to PetroSaudi

Sept 25, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 13

Sept 24, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 12

Sept 23, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 11

Sept 19, Najib’s 1MDB Trial: Day 10

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