KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The High Court here was told today that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low often used his influence as someone close to Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wanted the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) management to identify him as former prime minister’s proxy.
1MDB former counsel Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, 50, said most matters requiring the prime minister’s approval needed to be discussed first with Jho Low before being brought to Najib, who was then the Chairman of 1MDB Board of Advisors.
“Normally, obtaining signatures of all parties involved is the responsibility of the company secretary and the chief executive officer. However, for documents related to 1MDB investments, I would prepare them and hand them over to Jho Low to obtain Datuk Seri Najib’s signature.
“Sometimes, Jho Low would ask me to prepare company documents that required Datuk Seri Najib’s signature. After I handed over these documents, I do not know how Jho Low obtained Datuk Seri Najib’s signature.
“I would also like to state that during my tenure at 1MDB, I only met Datuk Seri Najib at events or 1MDB meetings in a group with the management team, never in a private or one-to-one meeting with him for any company-related matters,” she said.
The 50th prosecution witness said this while reading her 63-page witness statement during the examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Deepa Nair Thevaharan in Najib’s corruption and money laundering trial involving RM2.3 billion of 1MDB funds.
Earlier, Loo said that in 1MDB, when the management needed to sign any Director’s Circular Resolution, they would be given two documents, namely the Special Rights Redeemable Preference Shareholder in Writing (SRRP) and the Minutes by Representative of Holding Company Relating to Proceedings of Subsidiary Pursuant to Section 147(6) of Companies Act (MR), which had been signed by Najib regarding any investment and financial decisions of 1MDB.
“I believe this is because there is a specific term in the Memorandum & Articles of Association of 1MDB (Article 117) where the approval of Datuk Seri Najib as the Prime Minister is required for large and important projects that would have financial implications for the government.
“The Board of Directors would agree with Datuk Seri Najib’s decisions because the practice at 1MDB was managed in a top-down approach,” she said.
Additionally, Loo said that it was also because Najib was the sole shareholder representative of 1MDB, and the Board members would follow the wishes of the shareholder and, in the case of 1MDB, it was the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, represented by Najib as the finance minister.
“Since Datuk Seri Najib were also the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and the representative of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoF Inc.), the SRRP & MR were considered approved by Datuk Seri Najib for all his positions,” she said.
On November 16 last year, the court heard the testimony from the 48th prosecution witness, Director of Money Laundering Criminal Investigation Division ACP Foo Wei Min, who said that Loo was a crucial witness and would disclose all issues related to Tanore Finance Corporation, the entity that transferred US$681 million (RM3.2 billion) into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Najib, 70, faces four charges of using his position (as prime minister) to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow. — Bernama