KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The AmBank relationship manager in charge of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal current accounts had deposited RM55,000 of her own money into one of his accounts to avoid a cheque from bouncing back in 2014, the High Court heard today.
Joanna Yu Ging Ping, an AmBank relationship manager from 2010 to 2015, did not deny depositing the advance when questioned by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh concerning a cheque worth RM80,000 that was needed to be cashed out to one Lim Soon Peng.
After having gone through Yu’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chat logs with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, it was revealed how the cheque issued from one of Najib’s account numbered 2112022011-906 would have bounced if not for the cash injection as the current account was at that time overdrawn by RM55,000.
Harvinderjit: You used your own money to fund the (ending-906) account?
Yu: I did not.
Harvinderjit: On September 29, 2014, there was a RM55,000 cash deposit into the ending-906 account?
Harvinderjit: This message, on 9.35am 29 Sept 2014, your message to Jho Low telling him about the RM80,000 cheque issued to Lim Soon Peng, and how the account was currently overdrawn by RM55,000.
Harvinderjit: Is it true the money (RM55,000) came from you, which was then paid back to you the next day?
Yu: It may have been.
Harvinderjit: There is a message here between you and Josie (Low’s secretary) saying, ‘thank you for returning repayment for the RM55,000 that you funded.
Yu: But it is Jose who said thank you for returning the cash.
Harvinderjit: This is because you paid it yourself and they paid you back the next day, agree.
Yu: It may have been, what they returned (to me) could be from the client.
During the trial, Najib’s former political secretary and the 17th prosecution witness Datuk Wong Nai Chee testified that Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng was engaged by Najib as an intermediary to issue payments to two companies hired to monitor the general sentiments of the Chinese community online, one being the ‘Ah Jib Gor’ Chinese-language Facebook page for Najib when he was still the prime minister.
The BBM chat logs dated September 29, 2014, had revealed how Yu initially contacted Low to remedy the issue of overdrawn accounts, but Low was unable to personally facilitate the issue as he was on board a flight at that time.
Later it was shown how Yu was instructed by Low to obtain the required RM55,000 from his secretary, Josie, or former associate Kee Kok Thiam, but failed again as both of them were out town at the material time.
It was this predicament that led Yu to use her own money to make the advance payment and avoid the cheque from bouncing before being reimbursed the next day by Low himself.
For the account ending-906, bank documents and witness testimonies showed that Najib had used this specific account to issue 14 cheques worth RM7.2 million to multiple recipients between January and February 2015.
The cheque recipients include a welfare home, political parties Umno and Upko, contractors who installed water tanks or carried out renovation works at Najib’s residences, and several associates that among other things helped monitor Chinese sentiment in six local Chinese dailies.
Najib is currently on trial seven charges of alleged abuse of position, money-laundering and criminal breach of trust over RM42 million of funds from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).