By Aathi Shankar
Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin seems not as innocent as he portrays himself to be.
The 42-year-old has bought a property worth RM800,000 in Kota Damansara here in 2010 partly with what he claimed a USD200,000 (approximately RM600,000 then) loan from Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
He told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Thursday, September 5, 2019, he topped up the balance RM200,000 with his own money to buy the house.
Testifying Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on the 5th day of the Najib-1MDB trial, he claimed that Jho Low came forward to help him after he failed to secure a housing loan from other sources.
It’s mind-boggling to know that the 8th prosecution witness could not secure a housing loan given to his position then as the Prime Minister’s special officer, age 33, and earning a monthly wage of RM80,000.
Nonetheless fugitive businessman Jho Low transferred the “loan” from his company Alsen Chance Ltd account to Amhari’s account at Maybank branch in Jalan Raja Laut here.
Although Amhari claimed that it was a loan, he admitted during cross-examination that he did not sign any loan agreement with Jho Low and has not repaid the loan until today.
Amhari claimed he had declared about the property and the loan when he was detained in June 2018 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Curiously though Amhari’s witness statement, which he read out in the court in the previous two days, did not mention anything about the property nor Jho Low’s loan.
Amhari has a total of four properties – two in Kota Damansara and two more in Johor Baru.
Besides, the USD200,000, Amhari had also received USD800,000 from Jho Low through his private account in BSI in Switzerland in 2015.
He claimed the money was a political donation gifted by Jho Low as a reward over certainly accomplished favours.
Amhari has tried to transfer the money to his another private account abroad in Kasikornbank in Bangkok, Thailand.
He claimed that he didn’t know what happened to the money after the transfer failed.
Najib is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification and 21 counts of money laundering involving some RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.
The Pekan MP has allegedly committed gratification offences at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad, at No.55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.
For the money laundering charges, Najib is alleged to have committed the offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.
The prosecution is led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram while the defence is led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.