By Aathi Shankar
Former Bank Negara (BNM) Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz knew all along that Datuk Seri Najib Razak would be receiving a “big donation” from Saudi Arabia prior to the 13th General Election (GE13),
Former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang testified in the Najib’s trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today, Wednesday, July 17, 2019 that he had personally informed Zeti about the imminent cash donation when he met her in January 2011.
In his witness statement, Cheah said he arranged an appointment to meet Zeti after then Prime Minister Najib had opened the accounts in Ambank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch.
He also testified before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that Najib had told him that the private accounts were needed to facilitate an incoming donation from Saudi Arabia.
“I then made an appointment to see the Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia at that time Tan Sri Zeti Aziz. A few days later I met Tan Sri Zeti Aziz in her office and informed her of the opening of the said accounts with Ambank by Datuk Seri Najib. Tan Sri Zeti Aziz informed me that she has no objections for Ambank to do so but reminded that the opening of the said accounts are to be made following the banking rules and regulations.”
Cheah revealed that he was informed by the bank’s relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping in early January, 2011, that then Prime Minister Najib planned to open savings and current accounts in Ambank.
When questioned during the cross examination, Cheah admitted that Joanna Yu was informed about it by businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, not by directly by Najib.
“I then met with the AmBank chairman, Tan Sri Azman Hashim in his office to discuss the matter of Najib’s interest to open the said account who proceeded to instruct me to attend to the matter,” said Cheah, the prosecution’s 50th witness.
In mid-January, Cheah had gone to Najib’s residence in Jalan Langgak Duta residence to discuss the opening of the said accounts.
At the residence, Jho Low was present to greet him at the door and escort him to meet Najib.
Cheah and Najib then had a 20-minute discussion in the guest room while Jho Low was at a different part of the residence.
He left the residence after Najib had filled up the forms to open the accounts.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to SRC International funds.
The charges were 3 each for CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and 1 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.