KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — A former director of Putrajaya Perdana Bhd (PPB) described fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho as an “effective scammer” in managing the company’s financial transactions between 2011 and 2014.
In Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial today, PPB group managing director Datuk Rosman Abdullah told the High Court hat Low initially came across as a competent and trustworthy businessman.
“We developed what seemed to me at that time to be a cordial professional relationship.
“I thought of him also as a micro manager.
“Subsequent to my arrest, remand and now having what seems to be a clear picture of what happened, I would describe him as a highly smooth and effective scammer in so far as these transactions are concerned,” he said in his witness statement.
Rosman was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2015.
He is the eighth defence witness in the trial.
Rosman said he dealt with Low between 2011 and 2014 when he wanted to acquire Putrajaya Perdana Bhd from Low’s company Utama Banking Group (UBG).
“Low represented to me throughout 2011 to 2014, by his conduct and statements, that he controlled the PPB Group through UBG Bhd.
“He was also the only one who gave instructions to me. In addition, I referred to Low for key or major decisions.
“At that time, I had no reason to doubt that he was acting in the best interest of the companies.
“At that time, Low was therefore in control of the PPB Group as the buy-out had not been concluded and to me was still the beneficial owner of the PPB Group,” he said, adding that the acquisition was entered on March 9, 2012 and subsequently completed on April 13, 2015.
Earlier, Rosman affirmed in court that Low had instructed the transfer of RM27 million into two of Najib’s AmIslamic Bank accounts (account-ending 906 and 880) between July and September 2014.
Both transfers were dated July 8 and September 10, 2014 respectively.
“I must also add that since JL was the beneficial owner of the group at that time, I had not much say in the matter,” he said, referring to Low by his initials and the latter’s utilisation of the company funds.
At that time of the transfers, Rosman said he had no knowledge that both accounts belonged to Najib until much later through a claim alleged by an online publication that was unnamed in court.
He also testified that PPB, Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd and Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd had no agreement to advance monies to Najib at that time, which he said had not received his consent either.
July 2015 MACC arrest
Rosman said his arrest by the MACC several days after Hari Raya Puasa had shocked and confused him.
He told the court he was detained on July 24, 2015 and remanded for four days until July 28, 2015.
It was during his arrest, Rosman said that he found out that the two AmBank accounts (AmPrivate Banking-MY and AmPrivate Banking-1MY) in which Low had instructed transactions were really owned by Najib.
“I discovered that MACC suspected that I was complicit in the transfer of funds to and from the accounts of SRC International and Datuk Seri Najib,” he said.
Rosman also said he had explained to investigators then that Low was dishonest and had initiated and directed the transactions.
Rosman told the court Low had instructed him to appoint Jerome Lee Tak Loong an executive director in charge of finance in October 2014.
“On that basis, I had always assumed Jerome Lee was Low’s nominee,” he said.
Rosman said after he was released from MACC detention, he tried to contact Low, Lee and several other people he believed were their associates, but none responded.
Najib is on trial over seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.