Jho Low said Najib refused to close his Ambank accounts, court told

Joanna Yu, former AmBank relationship manager, was a witness at the Najib Razak trial.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former banker told the High Court today that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, had informed her that Najib Razak did not want to close his accounts with AmBank.

This was revealed by AmBank’s former relationship manager, Joanna Yu Ging Ping, 48, during cross-examination by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

Najib, the former prime minister, is being tried on charges of misappropriation of RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd, a government-linked company.

She confirmed the transcript of the conversation between her and Jho Low which was read out in court by Harvinderjit.

Harvinderjit: On December 20, 2014 you pushed Jho Low to close Najib’s accounts and he responded ‘asked MNR (Mohd Najib Razak), he does not want to close’

Yu: Yes.

The court previously heard that the senior management of AmBank at the end of 2014 had proposed and discussed the closure of Najib’s current accounts as they were constantly overdrawn and the bank often had to wait for adequate funds to be deposited in order to clear cheques issued by Najib.

Yu also said she did not suspect anything amiss during her dealings with Jho Low.

Harvinderjit: Would you agree if, during the time you dealt with Jho Low, you had a very strong suspicion that he did not communicate with the account holder (Najib), you would raise it to the bank.

Yu: I would have raised it to Cheah Tek Kuang (former group managing director of Ambank Group).

Harvinderjit: And you would have been very, very reluctant to deal with Jho Low on matters relating to the accounts.

Yu: Yes

Harvinderjit: But you didn’t get that strong suspicion. Not until at least 2014, 2015.

Yu: When we told him (Jho Low) to close the account.

The witness also agreed to a suggestion by Harvinderjit that a transfer of RM5 million from construction company Putra Perdana Development Sdn Bhd into Najib’s MY account ending with the number 906 was done in the span of one day.

The RM5 million transfer was meant to necessitate a cheque issued from the 906 account, causing some RM3 million to be overdrawn.

Yu also said Jho Low had asked her to reverse the transfers of RM27 million and RM5 million into the accused’s AmBank accounts ending with the numbers 880 and 906, in 2014.

Najib, 66, faces three counts of criminal breach of trust, one count of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

Earlier today, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali set Aug 13 to hear an application by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas for Najib to make an apology for postings he made on Facebook.

The trial continues tomorrow.