Najib’s lawyer grills BNM officer, asks why AmBank manager volunteered details in 2015 raid

Bank Negara Malaysia manager Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 16, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Bank Negara Malaysia manager Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 16, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — As Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar returned to the witness stand today in the RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) manager was interrogated as to why an AmBank branch manager had provided details of specific transactions if they were unsolicited.

In the morning proceedings of Day Three of the trial, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh asked Azizul why the Jalan Raja Chulan AmBank branch manager R. Uma Devi handed over documents on specific bank transactions if the central bank had not asked for them in a 2015 money-laundering probe.

Azizul is the second prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over RM42 million of funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

In response to Harvinderjit’s repeated questions, Azizul said that he had not asked Uma Devi for details on specific transactions of accounts at the bank during the July 6, 2015 raid.

Azizul, who was the lead raiding officer in the 2015 raid, said he had asked Uma Devi for all documents — including on transactions — related to a list of bank accounts.

These bank accounts included four of Najib’s personal accounts, three accounts belonging to SRC International and an account belonging to SRC International’s subsidiary Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd.

Azizul today confirmed he had received eight folders containing details such as the form for the opening of these eight accounts together with supporting documents at around 11am on July 6, 2015.

Azizul said he had waited at the AmBank branch until that night, where Uma Devi then presented him with two sets of documents which he recorded as having been received at 9.15pm and 9.30pm respectively.

In the records of the additional bank documents given, Azizul had listed the documents as having specific dates for specific transactions or banking instructions.

Harvinderjit, however, cast doubt on Azizul’s recount of events on the day of the raid and the idea that Uma Devi would have produced the specific bank transaction details voluntarily and of her own volition.

“You don’t seem to be telling the whole story,” he said, claiming Azizul’s memory of the raid about four years ago was “selective”.

“All of a sudden, 10 hours later, Uma Devi comes out of the office, realises you are there, gives you six transactions with specific dates and specific amounts.

“We are all quite experienced, why don’t you come out with the truth?” he asked.

But Azizul maintained that he had not informed the AmBank branch manager that he needed the details of specific banking transactions.

Earlier, Azizul said his BNM colleague Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, the investigating officer in charge of the raid, had given him a list of bank account numbers along with the names of the account holder of which information was required from AmBank.

Azizul confirmed that Ahmad Farhan did not instruct him to obtain specific banking transaction details, including all transactions on accounts opened under Najib’s name in AmBank.

The two sets of additional documents

The first set of additional documents that Uma Devi had handed over at 9.15pm comprised 10 documents, including a form to open an account with the number 2110020090481.

The other documents were four items named “single credit (confirmation advice)” with transaction amounts of RM40 million (dated December 24, 2014), RM5 million (February 5, 2015), RM27 million (December 26, 2014) and RM5 million (December 26, 2014).

The documents also included a withdrawal transfer slip for RM39.7 million (January 9, 2015) and an instruction letter with the same date and in relation to the same amount.

The remaining documents are a withdrawal transfer slip dated February 13, 2015 for RM10 million, an instruction letter dated February 13, 2015 for RM10 million, and a deposit slip dated December 24, 2014 for the sum of RM40 million.

It is currently unclear as to where the funds were moved or came from, or if any other movement of funds was involved.

The second set of documents that Azizul recorded as having received at 9.30pm involved written instructions dated August 26, 2013 to close two accounts with the last three digits of 481 and 694, as well as a receipt of the closure of the 481 account on August 30, 2013.

It was not made clear who holds these two accounts.

During cross-examination by Harvinderjit, Azizul explained that he had waited at the Ambank building as he had heard of a separate raid involving BNM investigators at the same building on the same day.

Azizul’s raid was at the Ambank branch there, while the team of about 10 investigators that came later was said to have raided Ambank’s offices in the building.

Azizul said however he was not informed of it and did not know of the details of the second raid, which he was not involved in.

When Harvinderjit suggested that Azizul must have asked where the second team was raiding as it seemed like a big operation and as the investigators would have been excited to carry out the operations, he replied: “No”.

Harvinderjit today also questioned Azizul on the content of the eight folders that he seized, asking why additional documents found in the folders such as letters allegedly bearing Najib’s signatures were not recorded in the document seizure list.

“If there is a letter signed by the prime minister, surely you will record it. Surely this is important, letter of a PM,” Harvinderjit asked, but Azizul replied: “Not necessarily.”

When questioning Azizul, Harvinderjit also referred to three envelopes of documents on the Ambank accounts of Yayasan Gemilang 1Malaysia or Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia that were also handed over to Azizul.

Najib was yesterday revealed to be a director of Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia.