‘Account holder responsible for transactions of his accounts’

KUALA LUMPUR: A manager of Ambank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch told the High Court here yesterday that an account holder is liable for all transactions in his bank account.

Uma Devi said this in response to a question raised by counsel Harvinderjit Singh who is representing Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Harvinderjit: If an account holder of the bank has never seen the bank statement, for example if the statement were kept from him, would you agree that the account holder would not be liable to his account?

Uma Devi: The account holder can be liable for all transactions.

Harvinderjit: Even there are errors, discrepancies, irregularities, unauthorised withdrawals and fraudulent transactions and if the bank account is kept from Najib, can Najib be liable for any wrongdoing in his account?

When Uma Devi wanted to answer the question Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram stood up and said the question would lead to conjecture as the witness would merely answer based on her opinion.

To a question on Relationship Manager‘s duty at the bank, the 21st prosecution witness said that the Ambank’s Relationship Manager had the access to open an account for their client.

“Each Relationship Manager has a unique code which is stated in the bank’s internal account opening form,” she said.

To the suggestion by Harvinderjit that the branch did not carry out verification processes directly with clients in such cases, she also agreed that it relied on supporting documents submitted by the Relationship Manager involved.

Harvinderjit: Referring to the confirmation from the branch you mentioned earlier, was it with the account holder or with the Relationship Manager? 

Uma Devi: Depending on the relationship of the customer with the Relationship Manager. Maybe some customers wouldn’t mind dealing with the branch.

The witness also said the Relationship Manager could make confirmation by calling the client and the client did not have to deal directly with the branch.

To another question whether Relationship Managers Joanna Yu, Krystle Yap and Daniel Lee had met Najib who was the account holder of Ambank, the witness said “I did not know”.

She said the three had left the bank a long time ago and she did not know when they left as she did not liaise with them.

The witness also testified that SRC International Sdn Bhd had two current accounts with Ambank and one foreign account.

Uma Devi said she joined Ambank in 2012 and later in 2016 she had recorded statements twice with Bank Negara Malaysia pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and SRC International Sdn  Bhd and Najib’s bank accounts at Ambank.

“In late 2018, I recorded a statement with Police Diraja Malaysia while for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, I have recorded a vast number of statements between the period of 2015 and 2019,” she said.

Before the proceedings ended, counsel Tan Sri Muhammad  Shafee Abdullah requested for today’s trial to be adjourned to Monday, to give way to the hearing of a notice of motion to declare Najib’s seven charges as defective filed by the defence team on April 3.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the application and adjourned the trial to Monday at 9.30am.- Bernama