Joanna Yu, Former Private Banking Relationship Manager Ambank
Joanna Yu, Former Private Banking Relationship Manager Ambank

Finally, the cat is out of the bag, Jho Low and his manipulation of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s private banking and credit card accounts.

The name Jho Low, or Low Taek Jho, featured prominently at the trial of the former prime minister at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Monday, July 22, 2019.

The intelligence of Najib’s defence team led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was dazzling at the courtroom that even stunned the prosecution team led by hired advocate Datuk V. Sithambaram.

Shafee’s team produced a transcript of BBM conversation between Jho Low and 48-year-old Joanna Yu Ging Ping, the executive vice-president of Ambank’s wholesale banking coverage or in other words, relationship manager.

The transcript was not part of the digital evidence that the prosecution had produced to the court.

But apparently, the transcript was BBM messages extracted from Joanna Yu’s Blackberry device confiscated by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

The prosecution’s 54th witness of the trial, Joanna Yu was the person fully in charge of managing Najib’s private and credit accounts in Ambank.

The transcript dated March 22, 2013, revealed that Jho Low has instructed Ambank vis-a-vis Joanna Yu not to ever to inform or forward any information, especially bank statements, to Najib or the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) about the former premier’s accounts in Ambank.

When pressed about this during the cross-examination, Joanna Yu admitted before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the transcript was authentic.

She also concurred with the defence suggestion that she had duly followed Jho Low’s instructions.

According to the transcript, Joanna Yu has told Jho Low that Najib’s private secretary Hafiz had called Ambank to enquire about former SRC International chief executive officer (CEO) Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil.

She informed Jho Low that Hafiz has called the Ambank call centre after the PMO had received Najib’s card annual statements from Ambank with Nik Faisal name on it.

“Dato Seri (Najib) advised him (Hafiz) to check with the bank since he did not recognise who’s Nik. So that’s why Hafiz called to confirm,” Joanna Yu told Jho Low.

To this Jho Low replied: “Shoot. Only u need to handle it. Very dangerous. Please do not send anything from that account anywhere in future. Esp MNR (Najib) info. Please speak to Mr Cheah (Tek Kuang) n senior management n ensure no one has access or can take any snapshots of that A/C”.

“…No more contacts with PMO pls.”

Joanna Yu has agreed to follow Jho Low’s instruction to keep Najib and PMO in the dark on the goings-on of the accounts.

The transcript was actually part of the digital evidence extracted from a Blackberry belonging to Joanna Yu that was seized by investigators during a BNM raid on Ambank branch in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015.

The prosecution apparently has concealed this transcript from the knowledge of the court and defence.

Joanna Yu also concurred with the defence’s suggestion that she had successfully facilitated requests from former Ambank managing director Cheah to get several latest hand-phones from Jho Low as gifts.

Among these cellular phone gifts, confessed Joanna Yu, were two units of iPhone 5s which were to be presented by Cheah to “someone” in BNM.

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.

The Pekan MP was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.

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