Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 44

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Jho Low one of AmBank’s bigger clients.

9am: The accused, Najib Abdul Razak, enters the court and takes a seat in the front row of the public gallery to await the start of proceedings.

Firdaus Latif

Also seen in court is his lawyer Harvinderjit Singh and other members of the defence team, as well as Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, DPP V Sithambaram and other DPPs.

9.15am: The court hears from former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu that Jho Low provided letters to justify deposits into Najib’s accounts.

Under cross-examination by Harvinderjit, she confirms that she had received a total of four letters in 2014 as supporting documents for credits into Najib’s AmBank accounts with the ending numbers ‘694’ and ‘880’.

Yu says that she had given all the letters to then AmBank Group director Cheah Tek Kuang, who is also a former managing director of the group.

However, she is unsure whether Cheah had shown the letters to then-Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Harvinderjit: As far as you are concerned, you did give all the letters to Cheah?

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Your understanding was that he had shown these to the (Bank Negara) governor?

Yu: I know he met (her) but I don’t know what transpired in the meeting.

The witness also confirms a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) conversation between Low and her on June 20, 2014, where he told Yu to show the letters to Cheah so that the AmBank Group director could let the Bank Negara governor know about the documents.

9.20am: The hearing starts with Harvinderjit scrutinising chat logs of Yu’s BlackBerry mobile device, which she had used to contact Low, former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and others in dealings related to SRC International.

The court hears about one of the chats Yu had with Low in which the latter asked her to clear her BBM chat logs.

This happened on the morning of March 3, 2015, according to the transcript read out by Harvinderjit.

Yu then confirms this conversation but says that she did not comply with Low’s instruction.

“Yes (Low told me to clear BBM chat logs), but I never did. Because I don’t know how to,” she testifies.

9.32am: Yu agrees that Low and Faisal told her not to disclose Najib Abdul Razak’s name whenever there were funds coming into his AmBank account.

During cross-examination, Harvinderjit asks Yu whether she was informed by Low and Faisal, who was also Najib’s mandate holder for the accounts, that Najib’s name need not be disclosed.

Yu: Yes, we were told we cannot list Datuk Seri (Najib’s) name.

Harvinderjit: You were told by Low that it involves huge confidentiality of exposed person, so not to expose the name?

Yu: I was told that by Low.

Yu disagrees that she had cleared her BBM chat logs after March 2015, and says conversations conducted through the application should have been in her BlackBerry which was confiscated by Bank Negara later that same year.

9.45am: Harvinderjit asks Yu if she thinks that Faisal was taking instructions from Low with regard to Najib’s current accounts. Because Faisal was the mandate holder of the account, Harvinderjit asks her if Faisal played a subordinate role to Low.

Yu: I have no way of saying that. We could only do account transactions as directed by Faisal.

Harvinderjit: Was Jho Low a person who reacts to things rather than plans things out?

Yu: Errr…I guess I would say yes.

Harvinderjit: With (regard to) the accounts being overdrawn and all the last-minute transactions; could you say that Jho Low was unprepared?

Yu: I guess so, but they didn’t know when the accounts would be overdrawn.

9.54am: Yu testifies that Jho Low had been one of the commercial bank’s “biggest clients” in terms of business brought in.

“He was one of the bank’s bigger clients,” she tells Harvinderjit.

Afif Abd Halim/TMI

Yu added that Low was also her biggest client.

Yu adds that she did not earn any commission from the deals she had with Low and only received bonuses, which are highly regulated by the bank, based on her performance.

10.09am: Harvinderjit begins going through Putra Perdana’s statement of accounts with Yu.

10.20am: Tanjong Karang MP Noh Omar enters the court and takes a seat directly behind the dock.

The Umno lawmaker then shakes hands with Najib, who is sitting in the dock, while proceedings are ongoing.

10.35am: Jho Low was not happy when then-AmBank CEO Ashok Ramamurthy brought up the matter of flagged inflows into Najib’s bank accounts with the bank’s board.

This is what Yu says to a question from Harvinderjit.

Harvinderjit is referring to chat logs between her and Low in Oct 2014, around the time when bad press began to emerge around the issue of 1MDB and Najib’s accounts.

Harvinderjit: These accounts were flagged by Ashok?

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Ashok raised it at board level and Low was not happy?

Yu: He asked why Najib’s accounts were put to the board.

Harvinderjit: If they were a genuine gift, it would not have been an issue?

Yu: The bank still (needs) to report.

11.08am: After a 20-minute break, Yu’s cross-examination continues.

11.20am: Sithambaram objects to Harvinderjit’s attempt to have a photocopy of an email marked as defence evidence.

The email contains a series of conversations which purportedly took place in 2014 between Jho Low and Yu.

Sithambaram tells the court that this was the first time the prosecution had seen the document, and they did not know its source and where it was obtained from.

He says that simple verification, such as the witness saying “maybe”, would not be enough for the document to be accepted as evidence yet.

“This is just a photocopy. We don’t know where this comes from, and we want context.

“We want to check on our end, My Lord. This happened way before the BlackBerry (chats) that was produced,” says Sithambaram.

To this, Harvinderjit says that it should suffice to mark the evidence by having the witness say ‘yes’ to acknowledge the document’s authenticity.

He adds that the court should mark the email copy as ‘D’, which is code for defence evidence, and that the prosecution can examine it and raise their case later.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali then rules that the email be marked as ‘IDD’ instead of ‘D’.

For the record, ‘IDD’ refers to exhibits which have been brought up in a hearing but have yet to be verified and confirmed, and are thus inadmissible as evidence until then.

11.35am: The court hears from Yu that it was Jho Low who told her that Najib had wanted to open an account with the bank.

This supposedly happened before Jan 13, 2011.

Harvinderjit: (Regarding the) opening of this account – it was Low who communicated to you an account was proposed to be opened under Datuk Seri’s (Najib) name in AmBank?

Yu: That Datuk Seri wanted to open a bank account, yes.

Harvinderjit: He communicated (this) to you?

Yu: He asked if Datuk Seri want to open (an account), what it would entail.

11.40am: Harvinderjit asks Yu if she has read Bradley Hope and Tom Wright’s book, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World.

He asks her if she has ever sent the authors of the book excerpts of the chats between herself and Low. She says no, she has not been in contact with them.

Harvinderjit tells her he will get back to that later. He now asks her about the account-opening process.

Harvinderjit: Did Jho Low tell you at the time that the reason for (opening) the account was that Najib was expecting donations from Saudi Arabia?

Yu: He briefly mentioned that there were incoming funds but I don’t recall him saying ‘donations’.

She says that a previous trial witness, former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang, had handled the opening of Najib’s account. Yu says she merely prepared the papers to open the account.

12.02pm: Harvinderjit asks Yu about the codename “MNR”, used to refer to Najib’s account.

Harvinderjit: (Jho Low) didn’t tell you that this account was to be used for illicit funds?

Yu: No. He did not tell me that.

Yu says the reason for “MNR” codename was so that people would not be able to see Najib’s name on any of the statements or transactions.

12.10pm: Jho Low insisted that Najib’s credit card statements not be sent to his Jalan Duta residence.

Yu concurs with the excerpt of a 2011 email exchange between herself and Low, which was brought up by Harvinderjit.

Harvinderjit: Low’s response was, ‘Do not send the statement to his (Najib’s) house. Super sensitive. We would collect it’.

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: (Low also said) ‘Credit card statement (must) never go to the house.’

Yu: They always collected (the statements).

Harvinderjit: Low insisted?

Yu: Yes, and the mandate holder too.

Yu is referring to former SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the mandate holder for Najib’s AmBank accounts.

12.20pm: The court hears that a mandate letter authorising Faisal to operate Najib’s AmBank accounts was submitted to the bank by Jho Low in 2011.

Yu testifies that she had initially received the mandate letter dated March 10, 2011 with Najib’s signature on it, although it did not contain details regarding the mandated person.

According to her testimony during cross-examination by Harvinderjit, Yu then returned the incomplete mandate letter to Low, who took some time before giving it back to her.

When asked by Harvinderjit, she confirms that she only received the letter back on Sept 22, 2011, with Faisal’s name and details written on it by hand.

Joanna also agrees that there is a possibility that Najib’s signature was put on the letter when the “blanks” had not yet been filled.

Harvinderjit: Could there be a possibility that the signature was put on this letter without the blanks being filled out?

Yu: Possibly.

12.25pm: The trial comes to an abrupt halt after Justice Nazlan is informed of a bomb threat.

He orders the hearing to be adjourned until authorities inspect the courts complex and clear the area.

Everyone in court is told to leave the room immediately and follow police instructions.

Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid/Malaysiakini

2.45pm: Court resumes after the bomb scare.

Sithambaram addresses the judge, telling Nazlan that the defence is seeking to produce parts of the Blackberry Messenger chats that are not in evidence. He tells Nazlan that they are not included as they are not relevant to the case.

He tells the judge that the remaining chats, however, are available for the defence to study. He says the defence should have the benefit of reading these chats.

3.10pm: Court takes a short break for the defence to examine the Blackberry Messenger chats.

3.25pm: Harvinderjit asks Nazlan for some time to examine the chat logs as not doing so may hamper his cross-examination. He asks that the proceedings be adjourned for the day. Sithambaram duly obliges.

3.28pm: Nazlan says that because the cross-examination relies heavily on the BlackBerry Messenger chats in question, he allows adjournment until 9am on Monday.


Earlier reports:

July 24, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 43 Vacated

July 23, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 42

July 22, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 41

July 18, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 40

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