1MDB trial: Ex-aide says intermediary used when making payments to avoid Najib’s personal cheque from ending up online

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex August 29, 2019, during the 1MDB trial. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex August 29, 2019, during the 1MDB trial. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Personal payments made to a tycoon who acted as an intermediary between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and two other companies were necessary to prevent former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s cheque from being “brandish” online, the High Court here heard today.

Testifying as the sixth witness for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial, Datuk Wong Nai Chee said rather than making payments directly to AD Network and Akademi Kewartawanaan dan Informasi Taima (AKIT), a personal cheque was issued in 2013 worth RM246,000 directly to Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng who would then disburse the funds.

Wong said this was necessary as they wanted to ensure Najib’s personal cheque was not circulated online.

“Nowadays you see everything on Facebook. We do not want the prime minister’s personal cheque to be circulated on Facebook because people will try to claim credit and say ‘look I’m working for somebody and so on’ ... to enhance their own credibility.

“So we didn’t want that to happen,” he said.

Wong said the payments made to Lim were for back to back payments for AD Network who managed the “Ah Jib Gor” Facebook and AKIT which managed the Chinese Weekly.

Wong had earlier explained that the companies were tasked to help bridge the gap between the former administration and the Chinese community by presenting an “objective” view of policies introduced.

Wong was responding to questions during cross-examination by Najib’s defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who asked why the payments were not made directly to the two companies.

Shafee had also asked Wong whether Najib could have utilised government machinery to conduct the same activities as the two companies and whether the government component would be more effective.

“It had never happened before because all this while he has been using his personal cheque,” said Wong.

In April, Wong had also testified against Najib over his alleged abuse of RM42 million belonging to SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB.

Wong had testified then that another payment of RM 238,194 was made to Lim for the same purpose.

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