By Aathi Shankar
Low Taek Jho or Jho Low and Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil fled the country in May 2015 right under the watchful eyes of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.
Nik Faisal apparently escaped from Malaysia via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on May 7, 2019, two days before the 14th General Election (GE14) balloting day.
Malaysian Immigration revoked Nik Faisal’s passport on May 27, 2019 and an arrest warrant was issued on the former SRC International Sdn Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) on the same day.
Fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low escaped on May 29, and his passport was revoked and an arrest warrant was slapped on him on June 16, 2018.
MACC investigation officer (IO) Rosli Hussain revealed this before Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali at the Datuk Seri Najib Razak corruption trial pertaining to SRC International on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
After 52 days and with Rosli being the 57th prosecution witness, the trial has clearly exposed Jho Low and Nik Faisal as prime suspects behind the fraudulent scam to manipulate Najib’s private accounts in Ambank.
Hence, the duo fleeing the country while being on MACC radar during and after GE14, which was won by Pakatan Harapan, has exposed the anti-graft agency’s appalling incompetence and recklessness in handling Najib-SRC case.
Or was MACC only targeting Najib? Was it mere political persecution?
The case IO Rosli has recorded statements from both Nik Faisal and Jho Low in 2015.
Nik Faisal’s statements were recorded twice in Jakarta, Indonesia, first on October 17 and the second, late in the same month.
On November 27, Rosli met and recorded a statement from Jho Low in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of United Arab Emirates.
The MACC, however, allowed bail without bond to let Jho Low and Nik Faisal to roam around freely after recording the statements.
Rosli testified that MACC was “convinced” with verbal guarantees given by the duo that they would return to assist investigations when summoned.
Under the anti-corruption law, MACC will record only a statement from a person, who is a witness to the case.
The witness may be summoned to testify in court later if and when needed.
However, if a person was believed to be a suspect in the case, MACC would arrest and charge the person after recording the statement.
The ongoing Najib’s trial has proven that both Jho Low and Nik Faisal were prime suspects of the Najib-SRC case.
Why MACC did not detain and charge them?
It’s baffling to know that MACC slept on its job and allowed the main suspects to escape from the country by trusting their mere verbal assurances.
Rosli told the court that sometime after GE14 he had sought the help of Bukit Aman police to nab Jho Low after learning that the suspect was with his friend Eric Tan Kim Loong at Maggie and Rose Family Members Club in an elite residential area Repulse Bay, Hong Kong.
However, Bukit Aman was unsuccessful in its attempts as Hong Kong police failed to detain Jho Low.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International.
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.
Najib 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.