KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was warned about Low Taek Jho’s dubious character by former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former second finance minister Datuk Johari Ghani, the High Court heard today.
Testifying against his former employer in the latter’s 1MDB corruption trial, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazarrudin, who was Najib’s former special officer, said that both Arul and Johari had their concerns to Najib about Low or Jho Low’s credibility.
Amhari was answering questions by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram whether anyone from the administration then had warned Najib about Low.
“I can only relate to my experiences with IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Co) which is my experience with Arul Kanda and Datuk Seri Johari, the minister of finance (II). Arul Kanda has questioned about Jho Low to Datuk Seri Najib in a meeting at his house.
“At this time. I was involved with the IPIC meeting. Arul Kanda had talked to Najib about whether what was promised by Jho Low is true or otherwise,” he said.
Amhari had earlier repeated in the High Court that he had gone to meet Mubadala chief executive officer Khaldoon Mubarak in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates sometime in 2016, to dissuade the firm from suing over funds 1MDB owed to IPIC.
Following his return from the trip, Johari had asked Amhari to explain what was discussed between him and Khaldoon.
Sri Ram: So the second one was Johari?
Amhari: I did not see Johari Ghani speak to Datuk Seri Najib but Datuk Johari had called me to his office because he heard I was trying to talk out of arbitration for IPIC. Johari Ghani was confident we could go for arbitration and we can win the case, but I think in that situation Datuk Johari Ghani views were not taken eventually.
Sri Ram also asked Amhari whether Najib had received daily intelligence briefings from respective agencies.
“I’m not sure how frequent, but as the prime minister he would be receiving all intelligence updates,” he said, referring to the relevant government agencies such as the police special branch, military intelligence, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and even intelligence outfit of the prime minister office.
Sri Ram also asked to Amhari on who had enabled Low’s supposed closed relationship with Najib.
Sri Ram: Looking at this scenario, who was the person who put Jho Low in a position where he could be close to the accused?
Amhari: Datuk Seri Najib.
Amhari said that Low was usually in New York and London when Najib went for official visits, noting that Low was not with Najib on those trips but was known to have met Najib privately there.
“On these occasions, I have seen him go and see the prime minister for an appointment in the hotel room,” he added.
He then recalled that Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had also remembered Low as a “very obliging” individual.
Amhari today explained why he disagreed having been an accomplice and being indebted to Low or having misled Najib, insisting however that he had taken Low’s instructions to be from Najib himself and having verified this with Najib multiple times.
“Over and above everything, I work for Datuk Seri Najib, I take orders from Datuk Seri Najib, not from Jho Low,” Amhari said.