More pieces of evidence are surfacing at Kuala Lumpur High Court to affirm the argument that former Prime Minister Najib Razak was a victim, not perpetrator, of a financial manipulation conspired by some hidden hands.
The latest testimony by Maybank officer Halijah Abd Wahab on Thursday, May 9, 2019, has further strengthened the argument.
The 31st witness of the Najib-SRC Trial said that several big-money transactions had taken place in 2014 and 2015 involving accounts of Permai Binaraya Sdn Bhd and Putra Perdana Construction, all in Maybank, and SRC International Sdn Bhd and Najib, both in Ambank.
A source familiar with the case informed that Najib never knew about the transactions.
He was never informed about these transactions by the man he authorised to manage his private accounts in AmBank, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the former CEO of SRC International Sdn Bhd.
An investigator said that the companies were used to camouflage big money transactions, misusing and manipulating Najib’s accounts without the ex-premier’s knowledge.
Najib is facing 7 counts of corruption charges in this trial pertaining to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
Halijah, an assistant manager in Maybank’s Kuala Lumpur branch said that RM27 million was transferred from Permai Binaraya’s account to Najib’s account on July 8, 2014.
On July 14, RM5 million was transferred from Permai Binaraya’s account to Putra Perdana Construction’s account.
On January 1, 2015, RM3 million was transferred Putra Perdana Construction’s account to Permai Binaraya’s account, while on the same day, RM30 million was transferred from Permai Binaraya’s account to SRC account.
Halijah revealed before presiding High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that all these transactions done by Permai Binaraya and Putra Perdana Construction had the same two authorised signatories, namely Datuk Rosman Abdullah and Jerome Lee Tak Loong.
Rosman, a director in Putra Perdana Construction, and Jerome Lee are directors of Permai Bina Raya.
Jerome Lee, who is the group executive director of Putrajaya Perdana Bhd (PPB), was arrested and remanded in April 2017 by the special task force probing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to assist investigations.
Jerome Lee and Rosman are also business associates of Jho Low.
Ironically, all letters of transfer instructions to Maybank from Permai Binaraya and Putra Perdana Construction to facilitate the transactions were found to be of the same identical format.
Another shocker was while all these transactions were taking place, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) never raised any red alert flag.
Maybank never alerted BNM via Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) as required by the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).
Unlike AmBank, Maybank however, was not investigated nor fined by the central bank.
On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, BNM investigating officer Ahmad Farhan Shariffudin Ahmad testified that AmBank was investigated under AMLA and fined under Section 14 in November 2015, for failing to report to BNM on the suspicious transactions in Najib’s accounts via STR.
He also testified that a piece of crucial evidence pertaining to a cellular phone data extracted from a Blackberry Bold 9790 was not considered as a piece of evidence to be included in BNM final investigation report on several suspicious big money transactions involving Najib’s accounts.
The phone was seized from an AmBank officer Joanna Yu during a raid at the bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch office on July 6, 2015
It is believed that the omitted phone data, which has “disappeared into thin air” was communication details between Joanna Yu and Jho Low.
Last week AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager R Umma Devi testified that there were obvious irregularities with the signatures on several letters of transfer instruction pertaining to transactions of money involving SRC International accounts in AmBank.
All these emerging shreds of evidence seem to suggest that Najib was a victim, not the perpetrator, of a massive financial manipulation carried out by certain hidden hands.