Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 45

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The court heard that Najib’s account received RM1.136 billion foreign funds and Jho Low was “desperate” to stop his “big boss” Najib’s cheques from bouncing.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

9.07am: Accused Najib Abdul Razak arrives in court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.

Awaiting the beginning of proceedings are Najib’s lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and other members of the defence.

Also present are Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and other deputy public prosecutors.

9.15am: Najib enters the dock as proceedings begin.

9.17am: Deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaram informs the court that the 55th witness, lawyer Ranjit Singh Harvinder Singh, will take the stand today for examination-in-chief, instead of the 54th witness, former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu.

9.21am: Ranjit testifies he had represented former MCA president Ling Liong Sik in a suit filed by Najib.

9.32am: He is being asked about his defence and counterclaim in Ling’s defamation suit brought by Najib.

9.42am: Ranjit says his client was singled out by Najib for legal action even though others, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had said far worse things at the time. This was why Ling filed a counterclaim, he says.

9.46am: The comments at the centre of the suit were published by a news portal on October 3, 2015. The report quoted Ling’s statements against Najib during an event at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.

In his statement of claim filed on October 27, 2015, Najib sought damages and an injunction to stop Ling from further speaking, publishing or causing to be published defamatory words against him. Najib also sought an order for an apology by Ling to be published in newspapers or magazines to be identified by the former.

However, the former prime minister withdrew the suit last year.

9.48am: Ranjit told the court that during Najib’s suit against Ling, the premier admitted that not only was RM42 million deposited into his accounts but that he had also received US$700 million.

Seth Akmal/TMI

The 55th witness tells V Sithambaram that Najib’s statement was made in an affidavit responding to Ling’s defence and counterclaim back in February 2016.

Ranjit says Najib in his response to Ling’s defence and counterclaim, had conceded that RM42 million went into his accounts, but denied any knowledge that the funds were channelled via two intermediaries, Gandingan Mentari and Ihsan Perdana.

He says around 2015, the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report reported that the RM42 million flowed into Najib’s accounts via the two intermediaries.

The lawyer also says that Najib, in his affidavit in relation to the suit, replied that the US$700 million which was also deposited in his accounts from an overseas source was a personal donation.

Ranjit says that the matter was later settled with both Najib and Ling withdrawing their suit and counterclaim with no liberty to file afresh.

9.55am: Shafee tells judge Nazlan Ghazali that for purposes of prima facie, this witness is irrelevant because of provisions in the Evidence Act and the defence will make a submission.

9.56am: Sithambaram interjects, and tells Nazlan that Ranjit is a necessary witness and the prosecution will also file a submission.

9.58am: Defence counsel Harvinderjit begins cross-examination of the witness. Ranjit says his client was of the opinion that Najib received money that belonged to other people and he was not fit to be prime minister.

10.07am: The witness is released from the stand.

10.35am: Trial resumes after a five-minute recess with Yu back on the stand. They are going through credit transfers involving Najib’s current account ending with ‘694’.

11am: Joanna Yu tells the court that US$100 million was transferred into Najib Abdul Razak’s AmBank current account ending with ‘694’ in 2011.

Under cross-examination by Harvinderjit, Yu testifies that the money was received in four tranches of US$10 million, US$10 million, US$50 million and US$30 million.

She also confirms there were corresponding BlackBerry Messenger chats with Jho Low on these transactions.

11.33pm: Harvinderjit is trying to ascertain if the transactions are from Saudi Arabia.

11.45am: The court hears from Yu that an account belonging to Najib received US$369.99 million in several transactions between 2011 and Jan 10, 2013.

She confirms that the amount is equivalent to RM1.136 billion, in response to Harvinderjit’s question on the total amount of foreign funds transferred into Najib’s account ending with ‘694’.

11.55am: Haverderjit questions Yu if she made any efforts to hide the transactions from 2011 to 2013 from the authorities.

Yu: There was nothing to hide.

Harvinderjit: A lot of people knew about this amount?

Yu: The relevant department handling the current account, the bosses, they knew.

Harvinderjit: If what (former AmBank managing director) Cheah (Tek Kuang) told you was true, even the (then) Bank Negara governor?

Yu: Yes.

12.10pm: Yu says US$681 million was deposited into Najib’s account in 2013 from Tanore Finance Corp, a firm that will be a central focus in Najib’s coming 1MDB trial.

Harvinderjit suggests that the transfers were donations, referring to support letters by Cheah to former central bank chairman Zeti Akhtar Aziz. Yu agrees.

12.25pm: Yu says Jho Low seems to be the person issuing instructions on Najib’s bank accounts.

Yu says that SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the accounts’ mandate holder, is merely seen to as formalising the instructions.

Harvinderjit: Why use these nomenclatures of ‘pie’ and ‘satay’?

Yu: That is what Low used (in the BlackBerry messenger chats).

Harvinderjit: ‘Pie’ is US dollar, ‘satay’ is ringgit?

Yu: Yes

In the BlackBerry chat logs being referred to, the term ‘pie’ and ‘satay’ tend to occur especially in relation to the massive inflow of foreign money into Najib’s account.

1pm: Court breaks for lunch.

2.42pm: Proceedings resume after the lunch break.

Harvinderjit starts by going through the chats Yu had with Low.

3.09pm: Harvinderjit tells the court that Jho Low had met Yu at Kampachi restaurant, where he had booked a private room. It is at this lunch that Yu had handed over chequebooks for Najib’s current account to Low.

A few days after the lunch, Yu messages Low to tell him not to write any cheques yet.

Low had also given her the old chequebooks back with instructions for her to “destroy the chequebooks”. Joanna tells the court that she did not destroy them.

Harvinderjit: Why didn’t you tell him that you couldn’t destroy the chequebooks?

Yu: I followed the bank’s procedure. According to procedure, we don’t destroy chequebooks.

3.21pm: Harvinderjit says about US$681 million was deposited into Najib’s account in 2013 from Tanore Finance Corp. Upon instruction, Najib returned US$620 million to Tanore Finance and a “new account”.

Yu agrees with this. Harvinderjit suggests that these instructions came from Low. To this, Yu disagrees.

3.24pm: Yu agrees with the defence’s assertion that she communicated more with Jho Low than Faisal about Najib’s accounts.

She agrees with Harvinderjit on the matter, despite Faisal being the mandate holder for Najib’s accounts.

Harvinderjit: What you cannot disagree with is (that) the frequency (of communication) between you and Low far outweighed the communication between you and Nik Faisal on Najib’s accounts. Agree?

Yu: Agree.

3.27pm: Harvinderjit suggests that Low told Yu that three new accounts were to be opened in Najib’s name for political and Yayasan donations.

She said she does not recall this.

Harvinderjit suggests that when opening these three accounts, Yu had prepared the account-opening forms and dispatched them to the office. The forms were then returned with signatures.

Yu says that there is a probability that this did indeed happen, but that she does not recall it.

3.55pm: Harvinderjit asks Yu about Najib’s signature. He asks her if she was aware that Low and his affiliates all used e-signatures. Harvinderjit suggests that she never received any hard copy of documents with Najib’s true signature. Yu agrees.

He also tells her that in these documents, Nik Faisal’s name is added by pen. Yu agrees.

Harvinderjit says that one cannot discount the possibility of the letter being signed by someone else or that Najib signed it without Nik Faisal’s name on the document.

4.20pm: It was Jho Low who was in control of Najib’s three AmBank accounts ending with the numbers ‘906’, ‘880’ and ‘694’, the court hears from Joanna Yu.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Harvinderjit, Yu agrees that this was the case based on communications regarding the accounts between her and Low.

Yu also agrees that Low had told her that he was in communication with the former premier as the account holder, although she could not verify whether this was true.

4.21pm: Harvinderjit is now addressing letters in which Faisal was made mandate holder for Najib’s accounts.

4.29pm: Harvinderjit suggests that Low gave instructions about the account and that Faisal merely signs off on it. Yu says this was the case sometimes.

She says she doesn’t know for sure if Faisal was merely following Low’s orders.

She reiterates that only Faisal could sign off on instructions as he was the accounts’ mandate holder.

4.30pm: Yu testifies that Jho Low seemed desperate to prevent cheques from Najib’s accounts from bouncing.

Seth Akmal/TMI

She concurs with Harvinderjit, who poses her a question based on the chat logs between her and Low in Oct 2014.

Harvinderjit: In 2014, (a message from) Low to you stated, “Please clear cheques. Do not bounce cheques whatever you do. Funds are wired”?

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Then on the same date, he messaged, “Aiyoh, cannot reject lah. Need to clear. Just hold on first”. All of that happened (on the same day).

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: There was some form of desperation in this message?

Yu: I told him the cut-off time was 5.30pm.

Harvinderjit: (Low was) so desperate?

Yu: I believe so.

Earlier, the court had heard how Najib’s accounts were constantly overdrawn, often forcing Yu to contact Low or Faisal to resolve the issue.

4.45pm: Under cross-examination by Harvinderjit Singh, Yu agrees that Faisal had told her in a BlackBerry message that he was only a “ciku” (small fry).

Harvinderjit: At 10.13am (Feb 15, 2015), Nik’s message to you: “I ciku only mah.” He is telling you he is nobody.

Yu: That’s what he said, but I didn’t agree with him.

4.51pm: Harvinderjit suggests that everyone, including Faisal, was acting on Low’s instruction. He brings up a chat with Faisal in which Yu tells him that RM3.5 million was needed in the account. Faisal then replies Yu with, “Please tell someone”. That “someone”, Harvinderjit suggests, is Low.

4.53pm: Harvinderjit suggests that, based on the chats, there were numerous instances in which cheques were issued without enough funds in Najib’s account. Yu agrees with the suggestion that Low was directly involved in the funds being replenished.

4.55pm: Yu testifies that Jho Low referred to Najib as “Big Boss”.

She tells lawyer Harvinderjit this during cross-examination over a BlackBerry message Low sent her on May 30, 2014.

Harvinderjit: On May 30, 2014, Low sent you this: ’50 American Pies incoming.’

Yu: He said ‘big boss’ called.

Harvinderjit: Who was ‘big boss’?

Yu: The account holder (Najib).

5.14pm: The defence continues going through chat logs between Yu and Low.

5.19pm: Court adjourns for the day. It will resume on Wednesday.

Earlier reports:

July 25, Najib’s SRC Trial: Day 44

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