Witness: Jho Low is not a punctual man, a liar

A former AmBank group MD tells the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he never trusted Jho Low

by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

A WITNESS in the trial of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) yesterday described infamous fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, as a person who is never punctual and a liar.

Former group MD of AmBank (M) Bhd, Cheah Tek Kuang, 72, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he never trusted the man.

“I can tell you what kind of a person he is, (he is a) person who was never punctual. If an appointment was at 1pm, he would come at 1.30pm.”

The 50th prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh on the 49th day of the trial of the former prime minister (PM) who faces seven charges pertaining to misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totalling RM42 million.

Harvinder had questioned him about a conversation via Blackberry messenger between the former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu and a person believed to be Jho Low.

Cheah said he did not talk to Jho Low and did not know the conversation between Yu and the man.

“What she said to Jho Low, I don’t know. I don’t talk to Jho Low,” he added.

Replying to Harvinder’s question on whether the witness described Jho Low as a liar, he said, “A liar lah, I don’t like him, I detest him. Cannot get close to that kind of person,” he said.

Yesterday, the witness told the High Court that he met Jho Low at Najib’s house in Jalan Langgak Duta pertaining to the former PM’s request to open bank accounts in AmBank.

Also testifying at yesterday’s proceeding was former SRC company secretary Chee Suwen and senior assistant registrar of the Civil High Court S Mageswary.

Cheah, who is the 50th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial also told the High Court yesterday that he did not receive any letter from the former PM stating his desire to return the US$620 million (RM2.55 billion) deposited into his account to its sender in 2013.

Cheah said the letter was never brought to his attention.

Harvinderjit: In 2013, you were told that the account holder (Najib) wanted to return the money from account 694 to the sender. In a letter by Najib, which was CC-ed to you, he mentioned that US$620 million is to be remitted in a single transfer out of the AmBank account, which represents the unused donation, to be returned to the beneficiary which will be listed later.

Cheah: Actually, I did not receive the letter. I knew Najib wanted to return the donation amounting to US$620 million to its sender in 2013. I knew this matter through Yu who contacted me for assistance to get quick approval from the central bank.

Harvinderjit: So, the letter dated March 2013 was given to you by Yu as a supporting document for the 694 account?

Cheah: I didn’t do anything. Because at that time, I was no more in the executive position…so, she probably had approached someone else.

Harvinderjit: I suggest it to you that you have read the letter?

Cheah replied, “I disagree.”

Harvinderjit: With regard to communication between Yu and the

account holder, your assumption was that she spoke with Najib directly?

Cheah replied, “Yes.”

Harvinderjit: I’m suggesting to you that she (Yu) talked to Jho Low, not Najib?

Cheah replied, “I don’t know.”

Harvinderjit: In 2011 and 2012, a substantial amount of money came into the account and Yu came to you and justified that the money received was a gift from Saudi Arabia?

Cheah replied, “Yes.”

During the re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Suhaimi Ibrahim, the witness said he was with Najib when the former PM signed all three account opening forms at his home in Jalan Langgak Duta.

Meanwhile, the High Court warned Najib against posting any more statements in social media pertaining to his SRC trial or risk being cited for contempt of court.

Earlier, attorney general Tommy Thomas made an application for the former PM to make a full unconditional apology over his Facebook post regarding his credit card expenditure as it could amount to sub judice.

Thomas was referring to Najib’s posting in relation to the testimony by the prosecution’s 47th witness recently that two credit cards belonging to Najib were charged RM3.3 million in a single day at Swiss luxury jeweller’s store De Grisogono in Italy in 2014.

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he had not been able to obtain instructions from his client and therefore needed time to prepare submissions on the matter.

He countered that his client’s action to post statements on Facebook was not sub judice to the trial, but said nevertheless, that the defence would study the matter.

“The media may not be reporting the whole picture of the case. They seem to be selective in their writing, cherry-picking on what they want to write,” he said, adding that he would consult Najib on his postings on his Facebook account.

To this, Thomas said Najib should give an undertaking that he would not. Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said he would hear full submissions on the matter on Monday.

“In the meantime, any other public postings can risk contempt,” cautioned the judge.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC funds amounting to RM42 million.

The hearing continues on Monday. — Bernama