Ex-aide denies keeping papers on 1MDB, Jho Low as ‘insurance’

Najib Razak’s former special officer, Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak’s former aide today denied keeping documents related to 1MDB and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho as “insurance” against any future trouble.

Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin was responding to Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who suggested this as an explanation for why he had not destroyed the documents as instructed by Low.

Shafee asked if Amhari had decided to cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in hope of being treated leniently in the agency’s investigation.

“This is a tit-for-tat to incriminate my client,” Shafee added.

However, Amhari denied this.

Amhari, Najib’s former special officer, previously told the court that he overlooked Low’s instructions to shred some documents related to 1MDB, including on the sovereign fund’s joint venture with Petro Saudi International.

The documents also contained talking points on 1MDB’s debt, a briefing for the Prime Minister’s Office on 1MDB, and the fund’s rationalisation plan.

Amhari also said MACC had raided two premises as well as Low’s apartment during his remand in June last year.

He said MACC seized the documents from an apartment at Persiaran Tropicana in Petaling Jaya which belonged to his cousin.

When questioned by Shafee about why he had kept the documents at his cousin’s apartment instead of his house in Kota Damansara, Amhari said he was busy for several months before that over the election.

“The chief of staff said when it is necessary, give them back to him so the documents can be filed accordingly and maybe used again after the election,” he said, adding that he had been busy dealing with Najib’s election campaign on social media.

Shafee also asked Amhari whether he was the owner of Aabar Investments PJS Ltd (BVI) or Aabar BVI.

The lawyer showed him several documents from the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean stating that Tycoon Gain Ltd, allegedly owned by Amhari, held shares in Aabar BVI.

Amhari denied this as well.

He likewise disagreed when Shafee suggested that he had worked “hand in hand” with Low and kept Najib misinformed.

Yesterday, Amhari testified that he was not aware of a civil lawsuit filed against Tycoon Gain in the Caribbean.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Najib faces 25 counts of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds amounting to RM2.28 billion deposited in his AmBank accounts between February 2011 and December 2014.