Saturday 03 Jun 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 8): Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak nominated then 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief investment officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to manage his various accounts at AmBank in 2011 and 2013, the High Court heard on Thursday (Sept 8).

AmBank's Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi said Nik Faisal was given the mandate to authorise transfers in and out of Najib's accounts.

Testifying in the 1MDB-Tanore trial, Uma said Nik Faisal was appointed as a trustee or mandated personnel to handle the ex-premier's AmBank accounts ending with numbers 694, 481, 880, 898 and 906.

This authority allowed Nik Faisal "to make status inquiries, statement details including account balances, and validate cheques that exceed RM250,000", she said.

Uma said Nik Faisal was appointed as an "authorised personnel" for the accounts ending with 481 and 694 via a letter dated March 10, 2011.

The witness also verified another letter from Najib to the bank dated June 20, 2013 on Nik Faisal's appointment as an authorised personnel for his accounts in AmBank, without referring to any specific account.

Before that, she testified, the authorised signatory for the accounts was Najib himself.

"This means only he (Najib) could sign cheques and conduct business through these accounts," she said.

She also cited a letter from Najib to the bank dated Aug 26, 2013 appointing Nik Faisal as an authorised personnel for the accounts ending with numbers 880 (AmPrivate Banking — 1MY), 898 (AmPrivate Banking — Y1MY) and 906 (AmPrivate Banking — MY).

On the same day, Najib ordered that the accounts ending with numbers 694 and 481 be closed, the witness added.

Meanwhile, the accounts ending with numbers 880, 898 and 906, which Najib opened on July 31, 2013, were closed on March 9, 2015.

Uma verified that before the account ending with number 694 was closed, Najib had ordered that RM150 million from that account be transferred into the account ending with number 880.

He had instructed the bank to debit the amount in the account and to issue a banker's draft/cashier's order in the name of AmPrivate Banking — 1MY (account ending with number 880).

Another RM12,436,711.87 was transferred on Aug 30, 2013 to the account ending with number 880, said Uma.

The witness testified that the letter dated Aug 26, 2013 confirmed that "Najib was responsible for these transactions as though [there were] issued by himself".

Uma also testified that RM30,449,929.97 went into the account ending with number 694 in March 2011, although she did not elaborate as to where it came from.

She also showed another transaction of RM30,179,909.46 that went into the account ending with number 694 in June 2011, but did not specify where this money came from.

It is the prosecution's contention that Najib received two tranches of US$10 million each in 2011, which amounted to an equivalent of RM60,629,839.43 in total.

This money, the prosecution asserted, came from the botched 1MDB joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd, for which 1MDB had raised US$1 billion but US$700 million was siphoned off by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and used to pay kickbacks to various players including Najib.

Najib, 69, is charged with four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds.

The trial before judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues next week with further testimonies from Uma.

Najib, who is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence at the Kajang Prison for his guilty verdict in the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, was present in court on Thursday.

The Edge is covering the trial live here.

Users of The Edge Markets app may tap here to access the live report.

Edited ByS Kanagaraju
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