KUALA LUMPUR: A former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today denied that he was protecting Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, for not raising the issue that the fugitive businessman has been misrepresenting himself as an advisor of then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 43, the eighth prosecution witness, said this when cross-examined by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on the ninth day of the former prime minister’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial.
Muhammad Shafee: Going back to Jho Low’s alleged misrepresentation as the Sultan’s advisor, did you put the matter into writing (memo) when raising the matter to your superior?
Amhari Efendi: No, because it is common practice to just wait for further instruction. But I had informed the matter to my superior Datuk Abdul Aziz.
Muhammad Shafee: But if you put in writing, is it wrong?
Amhari Efendi: No.
Earlier, Muhammad Shafee read out the minutes of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) meeting, which took place at the Parliament on June 30, 2009.
In the minutes, Muhammad Shafee said, that the representative of Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin had denied Jho Low was an advisor to the royalty.
TIA renamed as 1MDB in Sept 2009.
Muhammad Shafee: I am putting to you, you did not report it (misrepresenting) verbally or in writing, because you were protecting Jho Low?
Amhari Efendi: Disagree.
Muhammad Shafee: I put it to you that you had failed to inform the matter to prime minister as you were the one represented PMO in that particular meeting which took place at the Parliament, on June 30, 2009.
Amhari Efendi: No. I had informed the matter to Datuk Abdul Aziz. We would wait to see what action would be taken by senior officers at the Ministry of Finance, for example, how to bring up the issue to PM. It is normal for civil servant not to speak up and to just observe.
Muhammad Shafee: Did he (Aziz) informed the matter to PM?
Amhari Efendi: I don’t know.
Again, Amhari Efendi responded that his action was limited because he was a junior officer.
“Don’t go into junior…senior. Maybe that is the start of the rot. Because you did not speak your mind,” Muhammad Shafee said.
Najib, 66, is facing four charges of abusing his position to corruptly obtain RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering related to the money.
The Pekan MP allegedly committed the four offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Jalan Raja Chulan branch, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011, and Dec 19, 2014, and the 21 charges, between March 22, 2013, and Aug 30, 2013, at the same place.
The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues. – Bernama