KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak was briefed on a document stating that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, had no role in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the High Court heard on Tuesday (Sept 10).
Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who was special officer to the former prime minister, said the document was a frequently asked questions (FAQs) sheet that was prepared by Low himself.
Amhari, under cross-examination from defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said Najib was briefed on the FAQs sheet by the late Datuk Azlin Alias, who was the former premier’s principal private secretary.
“It (the document) was prepared by Low himself and it was the (base for) statements for relevant key individuals to say,” Amhari explained, adding that one of the points was to say that Low had no role in 1MDB.
“He (Low) also suggested that Najib say this as well,” he added.
When asked by Shafee whether Amhari kept a copy of this document, Amhari replied that he was given a copy but that it was not with him at the moment.
“I think it is one of the documents that was seized (by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission),” he said.
He added that after that meeting with Low, the latter had asked for the document to be shredded.
Amhari, 43, is the eight prosecution witness in Najib’s RM2.3bil 1MDB corruption trial.
The court also heard that Low was often present at “exclusive” parties held at Najib’s private residence, hosted either by the former prime minister himself or his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Amhari said this when questioned by Shafee on how close he perceived Rosmah and Low to be.
Shafee: How do you know that Low was that close to Rosmah?
Amhari: On several occasions, during my meetings (with Low) with Azlin, I could hear Low speaking to Rosmah on the phone.
And when I met Rosmah, she spoke fondly of Low.
Shafee: And Low told you about his relationship with the family and Rosmah?
Shafee: Did you attend any functions where you could see how close they were?
Amhari: Some functions and some meet-ups, mostly at (number) 11 (Najib’s private residence in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur). I do not want to generalise a person’s private life but for some of the private functions that Najib and Rosmah organised in the early years, I would see Low there as well. These were very exclusive.
Shafee: From there you concluded that they were close?
The court also heard that Amhari did not tell Najib that Low’s name was brought up in a meeting concerning the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) in 2009, which Amhari attended.
Shafee: (It was mentioned) that he was not the representative of the then-Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is also the Terengganu Ruler).
Did you update Najib (about the matter)?
Amhari: No, I only updated Azlin.
Najib, 66, faces 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.3bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.
He was charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law.
He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
The trial continues under High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah in the afternoon.
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