Defence tries to discredit Amhari Efendi

The defence also brought to the KL High Court’s attention about other properties owned by the prosecution’s 8th witness

by RAHIMI YUNUS

DATUK Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s defence team yesterday tried to discredit the prosecution’s key witness testimony which was linked to the late Datuk Seri Azlin Alias, the former prime minister’s (PM) principal private secretary.

Azlin, who died in a horrific helicopter crash on April 4, 2015, was cited many times by Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin (picture) while giving his statement at Najib’s money-laundering and corruption trial in the last few days.

Amhari Efendi who is the prosecution’s eighth witness had revealed that Low Taek Jho had supplied “official documents” and talking points to him and Azlin to counter the negative claims against 1Malaysia Development Bhd when the scandal broke in late 2014.

Amhari Efendi, who was in part of Najib’s inner circle, also testified that the fugitive businessman popularly known as Jho Low had instructed him and Azlin to open a “just in case and standby” overseas bank account each.

The money was to fund Najib’s political campaign prior to the 13th General Election (GE13).

Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Azlin could not defend himself nor tell his side of the story.

Amhari Efendi, however, stood by his testimony and assured that any other person who knew Azlin would say the same thing on the matter.

Muhammad Shafee: Azlin is not here to defend himself on any allegations. In an English adage, a dead man tells nothing. In Malay, “orang dah meninggal tak boleh cerita lagi”. Do you agree?

Amhari Efendi: Correct.

Muhammad Shafee: It is easy to blame dead people. Do you agree? Amhari Efendi: Yes, but I think if anyone was to ask around, he will get the same answer.

During cross-examination yesterday, Amhari Efendi denied that the US$884,996.78 (RM3.71 million) in his BSI Switzerland account was a reward from Jho Low for his assistance.

The former special officer to Najib said he executed instructions from the accused or Jho Low because he felt “indirect threats” from the alleged co-conspirators.

Amhari Efendi said his career and livelihood could be under threat if he did not follow the orders.

Regardless, he admitted receiving a US$200,000 bridging loan from Jho Low to buy a house in Kota Damansara in 2010 — without any formal agreement inked and no pressure to repay the loan.

He added that the source of the loaned money was later identified to be from a Jho Low-owned company, Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd.

The defence also brought to the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court’s attention about other properties owned by Amhari Efendi — including another one in Kota Damansara, two studio apartments in Puteri Harbour, Johor, and one residence unit at the Pavilion Damansara Heights in KL, which he was in the process of buying.

Amhari Efendi said he pulled out from the Pavilion Damansara Heights unit purchase after Khazanah Nasional Bhd asked him to resign from his position post GE14 last year.

Amhari Efendi was a director at the sovereign wealth fund with a RM55,000 salary a month, while receiving RM25,000 for his works at the PM’s Office for Najib’s digital communications requirements.