Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 39

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Jho Low present at Najib’s home when opening AmBank accounts in 2011.

9.04am: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the court and takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery to await the beginning of proceedings.

Nazir Sufari/TMI

Also seen in court are Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and DPPs, as well as Najib’s counsel Harvinderjit Singh and other members of the defence team.

9.19am: Najib enters dock as proceedings begin.

9.30am: The hearing begins with the continuation of cross-examination on former Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) CEO, Ung Su Ling.

Picking up from where lead defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah left yesterday, Harvinderjit starts his line of questioning with matters pertaining to Ung’s witness statement preparation.

Ung says she was called by MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) at the end of 2018 and had two meetings with them.

This is to record her witness statement which she read yesterday.

9.35am: Ung worked with Lotus Asset Management which changed its name to Merican & Partners.

She says it’s not true that she did work for Jho Low because the firm never managed money for Low.

She says that she knew Low in 2000 to 2001, adding that he was interested to come back after his studies in the US.

She says he was doing some business online and he was looking to do similar start-ups in Malaysia.

9.40am: YR1M had only 20 staff members and in order to execute more projects nationwide, it had to partner other groups to execute projects, Ung says.

Ihsan Perdana was one of those partners.

9.45am: She says YR1M had three accounts in AmBank – for operations, donors and another to receive funds from gaming sources, such as Genting Group.

She says YR1M had separate bank accounts for different funders as a precaution as some project recipients might be sensitive when it comes to receiving projects with funds derived from gaming proceeds.

“So, as a precaution, we separated (the funds),” she testifies.

Under cross-examination by Harvinderjit, Ung says she had met Najib, who was one of the YR1M trustees, about five times on official matters concerning the foundation and its projects.

Ung communicated with Joanna Yu primarily in AmBank and also elaborated that she didn’t have much dealings with Crystal Yap and others.

She met Yu “once in a while” and they went out for lunch once but most of the meetings were held in AmBank.

Harvinderjit then scrutinises the 48th prosecution witness’ background, including her experience working in Wynton Group, a company owned by Jho Low.

Ung testifies that she first knew Jho Low while he was still studying at Wharton University in Pennsylvania, sometime in 2000 or 2001.

She tells the court Jho Low then had wanted to come back to Malaysia and start a company, similar to a start-up he had done in the United States.

According to Ung, she joined Wynton Group in 2004 together with three others, including her former boss at Marican and Partners asset management company.

Ung continued to work with Wynton until 2006 when she joined CIMB Bank.

9.49am: Ung is now speaking about a meeting she had with the late Azlin Alias in the prime minister’s office in 2014.

In her witness statement yesterday, she said this was when Azlin told her about the money that was to be deposited into YR1M accounts.

9.51am: Shortly after that meeting, Azlin sent her a WhatsApp message telling her that the money was in YR1M’s account and gave her two account numbers to transfer the funds to.

10.09am: Soon after banking in RM42 million, Ung found out that it went into Najib’s accounts.

Months later, Ung met Najib and he told her that it “was damaging” to his reputation and career and he didn’t know that the money from Ihsan Perdana, which passed through YR1M, was transferred into his accounts.

She says he didn’t know the money was coming in. He appeared annoyed when he found out.

She says that she had apologised to Najib and offered to resign from her position at YR1M.

10.15am: Harvinderjit asks her if the term “our friend” cropped up in chats between her and Yu.

He asks her if it is indeed Jho Low. She says no. It could be Jho Low and it couldn’t be Jho Low.

Harvinderjit presses her further but she remains adamant that it could or couldn’t be Low.

There’s another chat log which Yu and Ung refer to “our friend”. Ung says it refers to Azlin instead of Low.

10.22am: In another message, Yu Joanna tells her that she is meeting “our friend” tonight. Ung says it’s not Low.

10.32am: There was a chat group in which Ung admits that Yu and Low were part of.

She says she was told by Azlin to prepare a board paper for a certain amount of money.

There was one part which concerned a cash transaction. It was put in the board paper that the sum amounting to RM2 million was to be taken out as cash.

Harvinderjit asks if Low instructed her to draft the board paper. She says Azlin instructed her, not Low.

10.40am: A heated argument ensues between DPP V Sithambaram, Harvinderjit and Ung when the latter is being cross-examined by the defence counsel.

This occurs as Harvinderjit was questioning Ung over what transpired in 2014 when she ordered Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd (IPSB) to transfer a total of RM32 million into Najib’s two AmBank accounts.

Harvinderjit appears to be upset with Ung when she keeps trying to further explain her answers to his questions, instead of stating whether she agrees or disagrees with the lawyer.

Telling the witness to just answer “yes” or “no” to his questions, Harvinderjit then tells off Ung for purportedly looking at the prosecution team when answering his questions instead of looking at the judge.

This prompted Sithambaram to rise from his seat and raise his stern objection, questioning the defence lawyer if he was insinuating that the prosecution was coaching Ung.

10.51am: Harvinderjit and Ung go through chat logs between Ung and Yu about the transactions.

11.50am: Ung denies the defence’s assertion that she sought instruction from Jho Low over the RM42 million transferred from Ihsan Perdana to Najib’s two AmBank accounts.

“No, I was trying to get instruction from Azlin (Alias, the then private secretary to Najib),” she tells Harvinderjit.

Najib’s defence counsel was asking her whether the reference to the word ‘friend’ in a chat log of a conversation between her and Yu in Feb 2015 referred to Jho Low.

The chat log was in relation to the transfer of RM10 million from Ihsan Perdana to Najib’s ‘880’ account.

She earlier also refuted Harvinderjit’s assertion that a chat log between her and Yu over the transfer of RM27 million and RM5 million from Ihsan Perdana to Najib’s ‘880’ and ‘906’ AmBank accounts in Dec 2014, was in reference to Jho Low, whom she was alleged to be seeking instructions from.

12.45pm: Ung says because Azlin was involved in the RM42 million transfer, she suspected that it had something to do with Najib, but claims she has no idea that the transfer from YR1M went into his personal accounts.

Harvinderjit suggests she doesn’t want to disclose her relationship with Low because she will be embroiled in this case.

12.50pm: Court adjourns for a lunch break.

2.30pm: Court resumes. Najib isn’t present and the defence tells the Judge that he will be up shortly. Harvinderjit has requested a short stand down so the defence can find Najib.

2.40pm: Najib is back and takes his place at the dock. Nazlan reprimands Najib and reminds him to be punctual.

Shafee to continue the cross-examination.

2.45pm: Shafee asks Ung if she remembers when she first read about the 1MDB controversy. She says she can’t remember but remembers news broke in 2014 or 2015.

2.53pm: She tells Shafee that when Azlin passed away, it was painful for her to see his contact on her phone. She then deleted all his messages and his contact from her phone.

Shafee says there is nothing in writing to suggest that she had acted on the instruction of Azlin. Ung says in hindsight, she should not have deleted those messages as it would have protected her in this case.

2.55pm: Shafee: Would preserving those messages been ideal?

Ung: Yes. But I just wanted to say I didn’t think there was anything wrong. If I had a doubt, I would have kept it and it would’ve been used to back up my testimony today.

2.59pm: Shafee implies she had made up the conversation with Azlin, instructing her about the money. Ung says she disagrees.

3.01pm: Shafee suggests she deleted Azlin’s messages and threw away her phone because there were no communications between her and Azlin. Ung disagrees.

3.04pm: Shafee concludes his cross-examination. Sithambaram has a few questions to clarify with Ung.

3.07pm: Ung is asked if she was personally instructed by Low to deposit RM42 million into Najib’s accounts. She replies, no.

Hariz Mohd/Malaysiakini

She also says she did not know about Putra Perdana at that time.

3.09pm: She is also asked about the term she used in chat logs that refers to “our friend”.

She says it’s a way to refer to someone without mentioning their name.

She says if she was referring to the prime minister in her messages to Yu, she would refer to him as “Uncle”.

3.11pm: She is asked if Najib made a police report against her for transferring the money into his account. She says she doesn’t know.

Ung says she does not think that Najib ever lodged a police report against her for wrongly directing Ihsan Perdana’s managing director Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman to transfer RM42 million to the then prime minister’s accounts.

She says this during re-examination by DPP V Sithambaram.

Ung is let go from the stand.

The court takes a short break.

3.25pm: The prosecution’s 49th witness, former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang, takes the stand.

3.28pm: Cheah says he was informed by Yu that Najib had wanted to open an account at AmBank.

He says he had personally dealt with opening of Najib’s account in 2011. He had liaised with Azlin.

He says he had gone to Najib’s house to assist in opening the account for him.

Cheah adds that he was greeted by Jho Low, who then ushered him to meet Najib inside.

3.30pm: He says once he was done with Najib, he went to see former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz. He says she reminded him that opening an account must follow banking rules and regulations.

3.38pm: He says there was a codename used in the account form to maintain anonymity as requested by Low to Yu.

3.40pm: He says he was a member of Retirement Fund Inc’s (KWAP) investment panel until February 2016 but took a short break in 2007.

3.42pm: Cheah is walking through the investment panel’s decision-making processes.

3.50pm: He said on July 19, 2011, a special investment panel meeting was called.

At the meeting, chairman Wan Abdul Aziz had told the board that Najib had asked for the loan to be expedited and that RM2 billion would suffice.

The board had decided on July 5 to only give RM1 billion prior to Najib’s instruction.

3.54pm: Cheah is now going through how the KWAP investment panel had approved the two RM2 billion loans to SRC as testified by other witnesses such as Wan Abdul Aziz.

4.02pm: Cheah is shown two photographs of Jho Low and is asked to identify him. Without hesitating, he makes the identification as he holds the pictures while in the witness stand.

4.13pm: Farhan Read begins his cross-examination about the KWAP loan approval process.

4.33pm: Cheah testifies of being unaware of any communication between then-KWAP CEO Azian Md Noh and then-prime minister Najib.

He makes the admission during cross-examination by lawyer Farhan Read.

Farhan: Do you agree that the prime minister’s communication to then-KWAP CEO Azian was not an order to grant the loan to SRC International, but merely a request to ensure the process happen as quickly as possible?

Cheah: I was not aware of that. Depends, sometimes they tell me, sometimes they do not.

Earlier, the 49th witness testified that he is a KWAP investment panel member from 2007 until now.

4.47pm: Cheah says the meeting at Najib’s house was the only time he ever met the former prime minister.

Nazir Sufari /TMI

Cheah says that he was not aware that Jho Low would be at the house that night he went to open the account with Najib.

Cheah says Najib told him that night that Najib was opening the accounts because he expected political donations were going to come from Saudi Arabia. He adds that Najib did not mention the exact figure of political donations, but did say that it would be in the region of RM100 million to RM200 million.

Cheah says that Najib asked him to follow all rules and comply with SOPs when opening the account.

Cheah is shown a credit card form bearing Najib’s signature, but Cheah is unsure if Najib had signed the form in front of him.

5.00pm: Court adjourns for the day. The trial resumes with the same witness tomorrow.

Earlier reports:

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