Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, the former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, seems to be an unreliable and uncredible witness.
The 42-year-old is supposedly a key 8th prosecution witness in the ongoing former Prime Minister Najib’s trial pertaining to 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB).
Close scrutiny on his testimonies since last week however, suggested that he has not been truthful and honest with his answers before Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
Previously in his witness statement that he read and signed in the court, Amhari claimed that the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) was Najib’s “baby”.
But, yesterday, Tuesday, September 17, 2019, he concurred with lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah that TIA, the 1MDB predecessor, was mooted by former Terengganu ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, when he was the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Amhari changed his answer after the defence showed him several documents, including declassified cabinet meeting minutes and TIA meeting minutes.
The documents stamped the fact that Sultan Mizan, not Najib, who wanted to form TIA.
The cabinet meeting minutes dated Dec 12, 2008, for instance, showed a discussion on a proposal to form the sovereign Terengganu wealth fund with RM10 billion as announced by Sultan Mizan, who had met then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before the cabinet meeting.
Had Shafee not shown those documents, would Amhari have changed his statement that TIA was Najib’s “baby”?
Amhari-Jho Low Ties
Amhari had over USD800,000 in his private account in BSI in Switzerland in 2015.
That big money was from the notorious fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low.
Amhari claimed that the money was a political donation for Pekan MP Najib.
In 2016, Amhari had attempted to transfer the BSI money to his another account abroad in a major Thai bank, Kasikornbank in Bangkok.
Amhari had opened BSI and Kasikornbank private accounts on Jho Low’s instructions.
The BSI account in Switzerland was opened by Jho Low himself while Amhari with the help of a Jho Low’s aide opened the Thai bank account.
Apparently the Kasikornbank account was opened merely to receive the laundered money from BSI.
According to Amhari himself, Najib knew nothing about these accounts and the political donation.
Amhari knew Jho Low personally since 2006 way before he became Najib’s special officer.
Amhari claimed he followed Jho Low’s instructions, which he assumed were from Najib.
But Amhari never once clarified with Najib to verify Jho Low’s instructions.
It should be noted that Jho Low had gifted a “loan” of USD200,000 (approximately RM600,000 then) to Amhari to help him to buy a property worth RM800,000 in Kota Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, in 2010.
Amhari claimed that Jho Low borrowed him the money but he had never repaid the loan.
In his witness statement, Amhari claimed Jho Low was Najib’s strategic advisor, but later, he changed track during cross examination, admitting that it was only his presumption.
These facts, especially on foreign bank accounts and funds, appear to suggest that Amhari was opened for compromise and blackmail by relevant authorities.
Hence, unreliable and not credible.
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.
He 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.
Najib is alleged to have committed the money laundering offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.