I was no rogue banker, says ex-manager in Najib’s trial

Former Ambank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping.

KUALA LUMUPUR: A former Ambank relationship manager in Najib Razak’s corruption trial today dismissed a suggestion she was a “rogue banker” and conspired with Low Taek Jho in meddling with the former prime minister’s bank accounts without his knowledge.

Joanna Yu Ging Ping said this during examination in chief by ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram, who asked for her response following the insinuation made earlier by another witness.

Sithambaram: The defence alleged that you were a rogue banker and acted in concert with Low Taek Jho that resulted in Najib being charged.

Yu: No, we did not conspire to do anything illegal.

At this juncture, lawyer Harvinderjit Singh objected to the line of questioning, saying the defence did not cast any aspersion on Ambank staff who handled Najib’s accounts.

Sithambaram then asked Harvinderjit whether the defence was going to withdraw the allegation or else he would continue to clarify the matter with Yu.

Harvinderjit did not respond.

(Defence lawyers who cross-examined R Uma Devi, the manager of AmBank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch, in April suggested that Yu, Kristal Yap and Daniel Lee were rogue bankers who conspired with Low, better known as Jho Low, and conducted transactions on Najib’s accounts without his knowledge.)

Yu, the 54th prosecution witness, told the court she had to contact former SRC International Sdn Bhd CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil – or Jho Low if Nik Faisal was not available – every time Najib’s current accounts were overdrawn.

She said neither Nik Faisal nor Najib accused her or her team members of exceeding the mandate given to her.

Earlier in the day, Yu told the court Najib had given the sole mandate to Nik Faisal to handle his three Ambank current accounts opened in 2013.

Yu also said Najib did not accuse her of indulging in fraudulent activities with Jho Low.

She said she had known Jho Low since 2008 and that the fugitive financier had brought in a lot business to the bank in connection with 1MDB.

Yu was testifying in the trial of Najib, who is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB.

Najib is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister and finance minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

The Pekan MP is said to have committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd on Jalan Raja Chulan and at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011 and Feb 10, 2015.

The hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.