by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
A FORMER aide to Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) has provided a riveting testimony in the former prime minister’s (PM) corruption and money laundering trial related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
In what was dubbed the world’s largest financial larceny ever engineered, Datuk Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin’s testimony provided substantial insight into the financial scandal that helped bring down a government.
Four days into the hearing, Amhari Effendi, who was in Najib’s former inner circle, testified that the ex-PM and his alleged co-conspirator Jho Low had orchestrated action plans to contain 1MDB’s fallout and bail the company.
Amhari Effendi also said Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, had instructed him and the late Datuk Seri Azlin Alias to open overseas bank account each that could potentially be used to keep political funds for the 13th General Election (GE13).
Accounts in Singapore
“Jho Low said this matter has received blessing and we were ordered to open these bank accounts for ‘just in case and standby’. Azlin and I understood this ‘blessing’ was from Najib,” Amhari Effendi said.
Amhari Effendi said he and Azlin were worried that the bank accounts could be used for “money laundering” to deposit political funds for Najib to face GE13.
He said Jho Low assured the two would not need to worry and said “Boss will take care”, who referred to Najib.
He added that Jho Low had told Azlin that the matter would be done “above board” through the right processes and documentation.
In 2016, Amhari Effendi said he was shocked to be informed by BSI Switzerland that the account had over US$800,000 (RM3.36 million), but the account was asked to be closed.
Subsequently, Amhari Effendi said Jho Low asked him to open a bank account in China to transfer the amount, but it failed before the fugitive businessman instructed him to open an account with Kasikornbank in Thailand.
Amhari Effendi confirmed that a sum of US$884,996.78 was transferred from his BSI account to the Kasikornbank account.
Secret Meeting in UAE
He testified that Najib had covertly instructed him to go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate debt settlement negotiation between 1MDB and International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
“This was a ‘top secret mission’ bestowed upon me by Najib, as the issue of debt between 1MDB and IPIC had been leaked to the public,” he said.
Meetings in China
Najib also ordered Amhari Effendi to go to China to pitch new economic cooperation in exchange for bailing out 1MDB.
“Najib offered state enterprise companies to be involved in these infrastructure projects, while at the same time solving the issue of 1MDB and SRC International Sdn Bhd’s debts.
Amhari Effendi was asked why he believed that the cooperation had been endorsed by Najib.
“This is because after listening to instructions from Najib, immediately there was a follow-up by Jho Low.
“And those two individuals were the only people I dealt with for the whole trip (to China) and that was how I concluded it,” he said.