1MDB Trial: Najib’s former aide denies US$884,996.78 in his account was reward from Jho Low

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today denied that the US$884,996.78 (RM3.7 million) which was deposited into his BSI Switzerland account was a reward from Low Taek Jho, the fugitive businessman who is also known as Jho Low.

Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 43, said this when cross-examined by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the fifth day of the former premier’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s trial (1MDB ).

The 8th  prosecution witness also disagreed with the defence counsel’s suggestion that he received the money from Jho Low because he had dispensed favours to Jho Low for many years.

The witness also disagreed with Muhammad Shafee’s suggestion that the BSI Switzerland account, which was claimed to be opened for political purposes, was just a creation or imagination.

Muhammad Shafee: In your witness statement you mentioned that you have to go along with Jho Low to open the account because you were pressured and that your life and career were under threat? 

Amhari Efendi: Yes

Muhammad Shafee: In your understanding, who was the person threatening you? Najib? 

Amhari Efendi: PM (Najib) has power, life does not mean ‘nyawa’… it was also the pressure conducted on day-to-day (basis) and I would not know how Jho Low interpreted it to PM and my boss (Datuk Azlin Alias, who was then Najib’s Principal Private Secretary)…but after Jho Low left, Datuk Azlin advised me to follow Jho Low’s instructions to open the foreign account.

Muhammad Shafee: You felt the threat from the Prime Minister’s Office or prime minister (Najib) himself?

Amhari Efendi: Not directly from the prime minister. Jho Low had the blessings of Najib.

Muhammad Shafee:  That is what Jho Low claimed (to you and Azlin). Did you feel the threat as being from your own boss (Najib) and conveyed by Jho Low?

Amhari Efendi: As Azlin said during a private discussion, the threat was not directly from the prime minister, but indirectly from the prime minister.

“Was it from Jho Low?” Muhammad Shafee asked to which the witness said, “Yes. Jho Low.”

The witness also said that he did not have any suspicions when Jho Low asked him to open the foreign account.

Amhari Efendi said he did not ask Najib whether the former prime minister had authorised Jho Low in this matter (opening of the account).

Muhammad Shafee: You never communicated this fact to him (Najib), that Jho Low asked you to open the account, you wholeheartedly believed in Jho Low and did not bother to come back and tell your boss (Najib)?

Amhari Efendi: I never did that. But I follow Datuk Azlin…I was a junior, I cannot simply walk in and see Najib at that time. There was no way for me to do that.

Amhari Efendi also said that the BSI bank account that he opened in Singapore under instruction from Jho Low in 2012 was registered under a shell company.

Amhari Efendi said that Aerosphere Ltd was registered under his name as its sole shareholder.

Najib, 66, is facing four charges of abusing his position to corruptly obtain RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering related to the money.

The Pekan MP allegedly committed the four offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Jalan Raja Chulan branch, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014, and the 21 charges, between March 22, 2013, and Aug 30, 2013, at the same place.

The trial before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

–NNN-BERNAMA