By Aathi Shankar
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s ex-special officer Datuk Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin had over USD800,000 in his private accounts in BSI in Switzerland in 2015.
The money was allegedly laundered into Amhari’s account by the notorious fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low.
This was revealed in Amhari’s witness statement which he had read out for past two days in the Najib-1MDB trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The 8th prosecution witness, however claimed that he didn’t know what happened to the money after he failed to transfer the fund from Switzerland to his another private account abroad in Thailand.
Testifying at the 3rd and 4th hearing days of the trial, Amhari said he received a call from a BSI officer in early 2015 informing him on the existence of the money in his private Swiss account.
Summing it up as “USD800,000 plus plus”, Amhari first claimed that he was instructed by Jho Low in 2016 to transfer the funds to his private account in a major Thai bank, Kasikornbank in Bangkok.
Later, in the same witness statement, Amhari changed testimony and claimed that he was advised to do so by the BSI officer from Switzerland.
“However, I heard from Jho Low that the transfer failed and until today I don’t know what happened to the money,” Amhari read out his statement before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.
Former Prime Minister Najib currently faces four charges of abusing his power to obtain gratification and 21 counts of money laundering involving some RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.
The Pekan MP has allegedly committed the gratification offences at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad, at No.55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.
Najib has allegedly committed the money laundering offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.
Amhari, who knew Jho Low personally since 2006 way before he became Najib’s special officer, has opened BSI and Kasikornbank private accounts on the fugitive businessman’s instructions.
The BSI account in Switzerland was opened by Jho Low while Amhari, assisted by a Jho Low’s aide, opened the Thai bank account.
Apparently the Kasikornbank account was opened merely to receive the laundered fund from BSI.
Although he opened the foreign accounts on Jho Low’s instructions, Amhari claimed he presumed that the fugitive businessman was acting on Najib’s behalf.
Apparently Jho Low has represented himself to Amhari as special advisor to Najib.
Amhari claimed that he and Najib’s former principal private secretary, the late Datuk Azlin Alias, had private meetings with Jho Low to discuss many secret matters.
Amhari claimed that he assumed all those meetings were held under Najib orders.
Later when questioned by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram to ascertain the “Najib’s orders”, Amhari backtracked and admitted that “it was only his perception.”
He had failed to seek any clarity from his own boss, Najib, over all those meetings and private accounts.
Amhari would be grilled tomorrow during cross examination by the defence led by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.