Jho Low’s role vital in managing Najib’s accounts, SRC International trial reveals

The High Court hears there were numerous transactions between SRC International and the former PM’s AmBank accounts

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE involvement of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, on former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) bank accounts was the highlight of the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial last week.

Former AmBank Group Bhd relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, 48, told the High Court that Jho Low had once requested her to lie for the purpose of cashing out a bank draft of RM139 million issued by SRC International’s AmBank account.

The prosecution’s 54th witness had faced some intense grilling by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, who pressed her on Jho Low’s involvement and access in relation to the former PM’s accounts.

The defence team had cross-examined Yu for six days, where the High Court also heard there were numerous transactions between SRC International and Najib’s AmBank accounts.

The week began with the testimony of lawyer Ranjit Singh — the prosecution’s 55th witness — who revealed that Najib had known the RM42 million in his AmBank accounts were from SRC International as early as February 2016.

This was in contrast with his defence that he had no knowledge of the funds, which was from the former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) subsidiary.

Ranjit had represented former Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in a defamation suit filed by the Pekan MP against Dr Ling.

He revealed that based on Najib’s affidavit on Feb 23, 2016, the former PM had admitted that US$700 million (RM2.91 billion) in his account was a donation, while the RM42 million which originated from SRC International had entered into his account without his knowledge and subsequently transferred through two intermediaries — Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd and Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd — without his knowledge.

Najib had filed the suit against Dr Ling for calling him a thief in 2015. He withdrew the suit and agreed to pay Dr Ling RM25,000 in costs after he lost in the 14th General Election.

Meanwhile, Yu testified that approximately RM1.14 billion was transferred into the former PM’s accounts between 2011 and 2013.

During the cross-examination session, Yu said Najib received US$369.99 million in several transactions between 2011 and Jan 10, 2013.

Harvinderjit: The total amount of foreign funds transferred into Najib’s account ending in 694 is US$369.99 million?

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: And the amount was equivalent to RM1.136 billion?

Yu: Yes.

Yu had also confirmed that US$100 million was transferred into Najib’s current account ending 694 in 2011.

She agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that there were numerous transfers made from SRC International to Najib’s 880 account.

She told the High Court that Jho Low’s role was vital in the decision-making over the management of Najib’s accounts.

Bernama reported Yu as testifying that former SRC International CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil — as mandate holder for the accounts — had formalised the instructions.

Harvinderjit: You said, “Jho Low sent me all these instructions, I tell him to tell Nik

Faisal.” Why were you asking Jho Low?

Yu: In my mind, I thought they have discussed (the matter).

Harvinderjit: The conversation is that you brief somebody that has no knowledge?

Yu: Maybe that…yup.

Harvinderjit: I suppose all these info you got from Jho Low and you (then) formalised with

Nik Faisal?

Yu: Yes.

Harvinderjit: Would you agree that the instructions and directions came from Jho Low, and

Nik Faisal only formalised it?

Yu: It appears so.

On the bank draft, Yu said it was supposedly issued to pay Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd on behalf of Gandingan Mentari, which was not a subsidiary of SRC International at that time.

According to her, Jho Low asked her to lie about the bank draft on July 2014 and she was also told to “make up a story” about the bank draft issued to AmBank and Public Bank Bhd.

Yu also said Jho Low had offered her a lucrative job with a RM60,000 monthly salary at 1MDB, which she rejected.

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 International’s funds amounting to RM42 million.

The trial continues today.