Shafee accuses Najib’s ex-aide of lying in 1MDB trial

Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, September 5, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, September 5, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lawyer today suggested that a prosecution witness in the former prime minister’s corruption trial was not telling the truth.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today grilled his client’s former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, claiming that the latter was “inconsistent” in his testimony against Najib.

Amhari, however, denied the allegation.

Shafee: You are inconsistent and you don’t even realise you are inconsistent because you are not telling the truth. You are fabricating evidence against my client.

Amhari: I disagree.

Shafee further suggested that Amhari wanted to implicate Najib by linking him to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, but Amhari disagreed.

Shafee: When in fact you are working hand in hand with Jho Low.

Amhari: I disagree.

Shafee further claimed that was the reason for Amhari purportedly receiving a sum of US$1 million ―  an alleged sum of over US$800,000 in a BSI bank account in Singapore and US$200,000 as a loan into a Malaysian bank account, but Amhari again disagreed with the suggestion.

Shafee had suggested that Amhari was being untruthful, highlighting two portions in Amhari’s witness statement that were allegedly contradictory.

The allegedly contradictory portions related to when or how often Amhari and his former immediate supervisor ― the late Datuk Azlin Alias ― would check with Najib to confirm the authenticity of instructions on 1MDB that Low claimed to have relayed from Najib.

In rebutting the inconsistency allegation, Amhari explained that Azlin was the person in charge of handling 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) matters and that the latter had checked with Najib on several occasions to reaffirm Low’s instructions.

Amhari said checks with Najib would be done depending based on the issue and situation, and that special officers would try not to disturb Najib as the prime minister over small matters as he is a busy man.

Throughout his cross-examination today of Amhari, Shafee had several times suggested that the former aide of Najib was not being truthful. Amhari dismissed such allegations.

Amhari is the eighth prosecution witness testifying against Najib in the latter’s trial over funds said to have originated from 1MDB.

Low’s ties with Najib, Rosmah

Today, Amhari confirmed that Low had spoken of his close ties with Najib and the latter’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Amhari said others close to Najib spoke openly among themselves of the then prime minister’s close ties with Low, naming those within the group as including “Najib’s senior officers, bodyguards, Najib’s family” and several of Najib’s other “unofficial advisers”.

Amhari said Low was Najib’s unofficial adviser as he was not appointed to the role, and that Low gave his “advice” covertly and secretly to Najib.

“Jho Low is one of the persons who is able to advise and discuss with Datuk Seri Najib and the fact that nobody knows about it, i.e. confidentially,” he said.

Amhari today said Rosmah herself had spoken “fondly” of Low, and that he had been present with Low in the past when the latter received phone calls from Rosmah who could be audibly heard.

Amhari also said Low was invited to “exclusive” gatherings held at Najib’s private residence at Jalan Langgak Duta in the initial years, with about 100 guests at these events hosted by Najib and Rosmah.

The trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow morning, with Shafee expected to continue cross-examining Amhari.

Najib is facing 25 charges in this case ― four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

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