Jho Low requested for Najib’s accounts to be identified by code names, says witness

In 2013, Najib opened 3 AmBank current accounts with designated code names

by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

FUGITIVE businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, had requested for Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) bank accounts to be identified by a code name for confidentiality reasons.

Joanna Yu, 48, the former relationship manager at AmBank (M) Bhd, told the High Court yesterday, on the 41st day of the former prime minister’s trial in relation to RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

Reading out her witness statement, Yu said based on her dealings with her portfolio of corporate clients, the “AmPrivate Banking-MR” code name used for Najib’s current account was the first-ever individual account to have been designated with a code name.

“The reason for the code name was based on a query made by Jho Low who had requested for the account to be identified based on the said account number only rather than by the name of the account holder to ensure confidentiality.

“I then checked with the operations side of AmBank whether this was possible and I was informed that a code name could be assigned but the account would still contain the identity of the account holder.

“I am not sure who decided on the code name. I was subsequently informed by AmBank group MD Cheah Tek Kuang that the then governor of Bank Negara Malaysia had been informed of this matter,” she said.

Regarding the savings account (account number 211-002-009048-1) and current account (211-202-2009694), Yu said Najib issued a mandate letter to AmBank dated March 10, 2011.

According to the letter, the bank was to allow one Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to make, on Najib’s behalf, enquiries as to the status and details of the said accounts and confirm all cheques issued for amounts exceeding RM250,000.

The letter also stated that the bank was to clear and confirm all cheques presented up to RM250,000 without further reference to Najib or Nik Faisal.

Nik Faisal was the former director and CEO of SRC International.

When shown a mandate letter dated March 10, 2011, by deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lutfi Mohamed during the examination-in-chief, Yu confirmed that it was indeed the letter she was talking about.

The 54th prosecution witness said, as of 2011, Najib had one savings account, one current account and two credit cards with AmBank.

“Sometime in June or July 2013, I was informed by Nik Faisal that Najib had instructed to close both the said savings and current accounts, and to open three new current accounts for Najib.

“I then provided the required forms to Nik Faisal who later returned the completed forms to me bearing the signature of Najib. I forwarded the forms and documents to the branch for their further action,” she said.

Yu said the three current accounts that were opened in 2013 had the following account numbers and designated code names.

“211-202-201188-0 refers to AmPrivate Banking-1MY, 211-202-201190-6 for AmPrivate Banking-MY, and 211202-201189-8 for AmPrivate BankingY1MY,” she said.

Datuk V Sithambaram: Earlier, you said you had contacted Jho Low. Who gave you the mandate?

Yu: It was given by mandate holder Nik Faisal.

Sithambaram: Who is the sole signatory to issue cheques from Najib’s current accounts?

Yu: Najib.

To another question, Yu said she did not receive any complaint about unauthorised cheques being issued by any third party on behalf of Najib.

Sithambaram: Nik Faisal could take money from Najib’s account?

Yu: No, he could not.

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million. — Bernama