KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 ― Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was present during the 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) board meeting on September 26, 2009, the High Court heard today.
Standing as the eighth prosecution witness, 1MDB former investments director Kelvin Tan Kay Jin had affirmed that Low was in attendance during the board meeting via minutes of the meeting where he had prepared under the instructions of then 1MDB chief executive Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.
“I refer to the document, minutes of the special meeting of the board of directors of 1Malaysia Development Berhad, with the name Low Taek Jho dated September 26, 2009 that have been prepared by me on the instructions of Datuk Shahrol and Casey Tang (1MDB executive director of business development).
“Also present at the meeting is Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh (Chairman), Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Azlan Mohd Zainol, Datuk Ismee Ismail, Casey Tang and Low Taek Jho.
“I confirmed that I was in attendance for this meeting to take minutes of the meetings and I confirmed my signature on the space of ‘Recorded By’ on the left side of page 7 of this document, is my own signature,” he said.
However, Tan said he was shown a different version of the minutes of the meeting dated September 26, 2009 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in the latter’s investigation. In that version, Low’s name had been removed.
Tan said he does not know how the minutes had been amended, but confirmed that Low had attended the meeting.
In his statement to the court, Tan also stated that at the time, Low did not play any role in 1MDB and was even questioned by one of the members on his attendance at the September 26, 2009 meeting.
“At the time, to my knowledge, Low Taek Jho did not have any role or position within 1MDB that would allow him to attend said meeting.
“During the meeting, Tan Sri Lodin had asked Low Taek Jho on his role to attend the meeting and Low Taek Jho had told all board members that he will have a role in the ‘board of advisor’.
“All of the board members took note of the matter and no one had raised further questions on the matter,” he said.
Tan, who is a consultant currently engaged by the World Bank, had worked with 1MDB from 2009 until 2013.
During cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had quizzed Tan on what had Low supposedly said at the meeting.
Tan said he did not remember what was spoken by Low at the time but recollected that the Penang born businessman had passed a phone to 1MDB then chairman Mohd Bakke, purportedly a call coming from then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In November of last year, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, who was the auditor-general tasked with auditing 1MDB in 2015, spoke about government auditors’ findings on whether Low had attended the September 26, 2009 meeting.
Ambrin said the government auditors from the National Audit Department (NAD) had initially discovered at 1MDB’s office during checks of 1MDB meeting minutes that there was a September 26, 2009 meeting minute that listed “Low Taek Jho” as an attendee.
But Ambrin said the NAD was not allowed by 1MDB to make a copy of the document at the time.
Ambrin also said he had then invited all members of the 1MDB board, including Mohd Bakke, to the NAD office for interviews ― to verify if Low had attended the 1MDB board meeting.
Ambrin said that Mohd Bakke had confirmed Low’s was indeed in attendance during the directors’ meeting on September 26, 2009 when the investment to issue Islamic Medium-Term Notes (IMTN) was made.
In this trial, Najib is accused of having misused his positions as prime minister and finance minister to order for the 1MDB audit report changes to avoid civil or criminal action, while 1MDB former chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of having helped Najib commit the alleged offence.