by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by ISMAIL CHE RUS
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd trial has extended to matters related to key figures of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, and other individuals in the controversial sovereign state wealth fund.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled yesterday that documents related to correspondence between managers at AmBank Group and 1MDB, Jho Low, Jasmine Loo, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Datuk Suboh Md Yasin, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil and few others, are relevant to the trial.
The AmBank managers involved were account relationship manager Joanna Yu Jing Ping and other officers namely Krystle Yap and Daniel Lee, who had email and BlackBerry conversations with the relevant parties.
Earlier in the proceeding, Najib’s defence cross-examined the prosecutor’s fourth witness, Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, a manager at Bank Negara Malaysia, and asked him to produce documents related to the communications.
The defence cited the Wall Street Journal’s reports and the book “Billion Dollar Whale” in a heated exchange with the prosecutors.
The prosecutors argued the defence’s line of questioning and characterised it as a fishing expedition.
“They must satisfy admissibility and necessity. What they are doing is a fishing expedition. We need proper procedure through official applications,” deputy public prosecutor V Sithambaran said.
“The documents may not be relevant to the prosecution, but it may or may not be relevant from the defence angle. We can determine the relevancy of the documents once we inspect them,” lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said in the trial.
When met with reporters after the proceedings, Muhammad Shafee said the conversations between Joanna Yu and Jho Low are critical as they suggest that Jho Low was trying to keep Najib out of the loop on monetary transactions.
SRC International was a former subsidiary of 1MDB, where Najib has been accused of misappropriating RM42 million from the company into his personal bank account.
Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd — purportedly SRC International’s corporate social responsibility partner — were alleged to be the vehicles used to channel the funds.
Ahmad Farhan, 32, was also the investigation officer for the raid conducted at the AmIslamic Bank Bhd’s branch in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, on July 6, 2015.
He testified that there were two other teams who raided the bank, apart from a team that comprised the second witness, Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, a manager at the central bank.
In the operation held on July 6, 2015, Azizul Adzani acted as one of the raiding officers and confiscated documents related to 12 accounts belonging to Najib, SRC International, Gandingan Mentari, Yayasan Gemilang 1Malaysia and Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia.
During cross-examination, Azizul Adzani testified that in a police report he had lodged, he categorised the transactions contained in the seized documents as alleged offences under Section 4 of the AntiMoney Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFA).
Azizul Adzani also testified on the discrepancies seen in Najib’s signatures on the documents seized.
Meanwhile, the third witness, Mohd Nizam Yahya, testified that he had submitted the original copies of documents seized in an operation at Affin Bank Bhd headquarters in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015, to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on June 22, 2018.
The 39-year-old financial intelligence analyst at the central bank testified that the special task force had also examined the documents in 2015.