KUALA LUMPUR: Despite then being a public servant, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin did not declare the US$200,000 loan he received from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, in 2010, the High Court heard.
Amhari, who was former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said this under cross-examination by defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during day six of the former prime minister's 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) corruption trial on Tuesday (Sept 10).
The 43-year-old also confirmed that he did not pay any interest for the loan, nor did he repay the US$200,000 to Low.
Shafee: Would you agree with me that you did not pay interest for the US$200,000 loan?
Amhari: No interest.
Shafee: You did not pay the US$200,000 principal?
Amhari: I have not.
Shafee: You are aware at that time you took the loan that you were a public officer?
Shafee: You did not declare the US$200,000 loan to the government?
Amhari: I did not.
Shafee: You realise it could be an offence on your part?
Amhari: I was not clear at that time that it was an offence.
Amhari then confirmed that he was aware at that time that Low was a businessman, who had dealings with government departments such as the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry.
He, however, said he was unaware of any deals between Low and the government departments at that time.
Earlier, Amhari told the court that he had taken the loan from Low after being unable to obtain one from local financial institutions.
He said the loan was meant for property matters, as he was trying to purchase a property in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
Najib, 66, faces 25 charges in total – four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.3bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.
He was charged with the four abuse of power charges under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law.
He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.
The trial continues under High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah in the afternoon.