KUALA LUMPUR: A former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied he protected Low Taek Jho during the early stages of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) before it was federalised from Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin was bombarded with multiple questions during cross-examination by Najib's lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee suggested Amhari was protecting Low by not raising the issue of Low's misrepresentation as the advisor of Terengganu ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who was then the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He also suggested that Amhari kept quiet because he was close to Low and benefited from doing so.
Shafee raised a document of a meeting on June 30,2009 at 5.30pm at one of the Parliament committee room, chaired by then Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Abdullah, attended by Amhari, former 1MDB president and CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, representatives from Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) Terengganu and a real representative of Sultan Mizan, among others.
Shafee: Can you look at the caption of Istana Negara's views, where the representative questioned who and what is Jho Low's role, and that a certain party is concerned that some might be misusing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's name. Correct?
Shafee: Did you contribute with this discussion? You know Jho Low since 2007 or 2008 and he has made certain representations. Did you contribute to this discussion?
Amhari: No. Can I explain?
Shafee: Now you want to explain?
Amhari: Yes, during the TIA set up, I was considered to be a junior officer and my attendance which represented Najib, be it as the deputy prime minister or prime minister, was to show that the matter was within his knowledge that time. My role was very minimal because I was a very junior officer. I felt I was invited by Wan Abdul Aziz as a mark of respect to the prime minister's office.
I did not have any comments in all the TIA meetings I attended because they see me as a junior. I am not that qualified so I did not say anything at all.
Shafee: You have info in you that Jho Low claims to you, which is a claim to the PMO that he is an advisor to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Specific information. Don't you think it's incumbent to prevent further misleading information from going on?
Amhari: The way I look at it, it was already being discussed by more senior officers and that has been established.
Shafee then pressed Amhari further, asking him if he did not realise the matter was serious, to which Amhari replied he was sure the Treasury secretary-general would raise the matter with the prime minister.
Shafee then said Amhari had a jaundiced way of looking at the issue as he did not look at the proper perspective.
Shafee: I'd say that in the meeting you should've contributed to the content on who is Jho Low, which you fail to. I put it to you that you fail to do so as the only representative of the PMO.
Amhari: I don't believe it's necessary because the issue is out there and as a junior officer, we follow the instructions of senior officers from the MOF and how they will bring this problem to the minister or prime minister.
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