KUALA LUMPUR: A former close aide to Datuk Seri Najib Razak continued to reveal how fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, who was central in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, was also a figure in the inner circle of the former prime minister and his wife.
On the sixth day of the 1MDB trial, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin testified that Low, also known as Jho Low, was often present at “exclusive” parties held at Najib’s private residence, hosted either by the former premier himself or his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
The 43-year-old key witness said this when questioned by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on how close he perceived Rosmah and Low to be during cross-examination here at the High Court yesterday.
Shafee: How do you know that Low was that close to Rosmah?
Amhari: On several occasions, during my meetings (with Low and) with (the late Datuk Seri) Azlin (Alias), I could hear Low speaking to Rosmah on the phone. And when I met Rosmah, she spoke fondly about Low.
Shafee: And Low told you about his relationship with the family and Rosmah?
Shafee: Did you attend any functions where you could see how close they were?
Amhari: Some functions and some meet-ups, mostly at (number) 11 (Najib’s private house in Jalan Duta). Some of these functions – I do not want to generalise a person’s private life – but for some of the private functions that Najib and Rosmah organised in the early years, I would see Low there as well. It was very exclusive.
Shafee: From there you concluded that they were close?
The witness also testified that Najib often spoke of confidential matters with Low in private meetings. He, however, could not fully confirm the nature of matters discussed between the men.
Shafee: So you could not verify the nature of the conversations as you were not present? You can’t determine this for a fact?
Amhari in his written witness statement had said that Najib often met up with Low to discuss matters, including confidential matters.
In his statement, he also said that Azlin, who was Najib’s principal private secretary, had on occasion received instructions from Low.
Amhari said he was sure that the instructions were known or had come from Najib.
The court also heard that Najib was briefed on a frequently asked questions (FAQs) document which stated that Low had no role in the 1MDB scandal. Low had prepared the FAQs sheet and the briefing was done by Azlin, the witness said.
“It (the document) was prepared by Low himself and it was the (basis for) statements for relevant key individuals to say, ” Amhari explained, adding that one of the points was to say that Low had no role in 1MDB.
“He (Low) also suggested that Najib say this as well, ” he added.
When asked by Shafee whether Amhari kept a copy of this document, Amhari replied that he was given a copy but that it was not with him at the moment.
“I think it is one of the documents that was seized (by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), ” he said.
Amhari said after a meeting with Low, Low had asked for the document to be shredded.
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 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 before High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.