‘Najib wanted to open accounts to receive Saudi donation’

KUALA LUMPUR: A former group managing director of Ambank told the High Court here today Datuk Seri Najib Razak wanted to open accounts with the bank for the purpose of receiving donation from Saudi Arabia.

Cheah Tek Kuang, 72, said he was told the donation coming in was in hundreds of millions in US dollars.

The 50th prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by the former prime minister’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh on the 39th day of the trial of Najib on seven counts of misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totalling RM42 million.

Najib Razak

Harvinderjit: Going back to the purpose of the accounts being opened, since Najib mentioned donation, you as a banker would have told him to conduct Bank Negara reporting?

Cheah: Of course.

Harvinderjit: The donation, do you remember the figure?

Cheah: 100, maybe 200 million of US dollars.

Harvinderjit also pointed out the discrepancies between the pen used for Najib’s signatures on the account opening forms and the credit card form that were supposedly signed together.

Harvinderjit: The signature of Najib is different. On the other form the ink is not so black. Can you remember when he (Najib) signed those two forms?

Cheah: I can’t confirm that.

Harvinderjit: After he signed the form, did Najib give you cash to deposit for the opening of the new account?

Cheah: No.

Harvinderjit: Did Joanna give you cash?

Cheah: No.

Joanna Yu was the relationship manager for Najib’s accounts in Ambank because she was the one who was told to open the accounts for the former prime minister.

Referring to BlackBerry Messenger transcripts between Joanna and the witness, Harvinderjit proceeded to ask the witness what Joanna said when the subject of opening the said accounts was first raised.

Harvinderjit: Joanna told you that “Jho Low contacted me saying Najib wanted to open an account”?

Cheah: Yes. She said preferably the chairman or myself acted on it.

Part of the conversation also stated a successful “transfer out” of $620 million from the “relevant accounts” some time in 2013, to which Cheah responded in the message to Joanna “You must be relieved.”

Harvinderjit also recalled conversations Joanna sent to Cheah saying “Mr Low is coming to town”, which Cheah refused to confirm whether the chat was referring to Jho Low.

Cheah also sent a message to Joanna asking whether she “managed to get the young man”.

Harvinderjit: Who is that young man Is that Jho Low?

Cheah: Maybe, maybe not.

Meanwhile, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali reprimanded Najib for not returning on time for his afternoon proceeding, which was supposed to start at 2.20 pm, but Najib only turned up at 2.40 pm.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had earlier apologised to the judge and explained why his client was late, saying Najib had an unexpected visitor at his house which made him lost track of time.

Justice Mohd Nazlan then reminded Najib on the need to be on time when he finally showed up.

“Further tardiness will only delay proceedings and it is unfair to others who are punctual,” he said.

The hearing before Justice Mohd Nazlan continues tomorrow. – Bernama