KUALA LUMPUR: A former AmBank managing director ran into fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho at Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s residence when he was there for the former premier’s signature to set up a bank account, the High Court heard.
Cheah Tek Kuang, who is currently a non-independent and non-executive director of the bank, went over to the Pekan MP’s home in Langgak Duta as he was tasked to get Najib’s signature for various forms to open a current account with AmBank.
As he arrived at the residence in a car, Cheah said that Low, better known as Jho Low, came out from another car.
To a question by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah during the RM2.28bil 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial yesterday, Cheah said Low did not interact with him.
Shafee: Do you know Jho Low?
Cheah: I know little of him.
The witness also testified that prior to the meeting at Najib’s home, he had met Low before as Low had wanted to meet with him as the bank’s managing director.
A lunch was arranged for that purpose. Cheah said the meeting with Low was in a social setting and not for business.
“But he has a habit of turning up late,” he said, adding that Low would be late for more than 30 minutes.
After two or three meetings, where Low still turned up late, Cheah said he did not entertain further meeting requests from Low.
On Tuesday, Cheah had testified that the bank account was opened to receive a US$100mil from Saudi Arabia, which he was told was a contribution for Najib’s work in championing Islam.
The court also heard from witness R. Uma Devi who testified that Najib had never made cash withdrawals from his AmBank accounts despite the billions deposited in it.
Uma Devi, who is the AmBank (M) Bhd Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager, confirmed this when cross- examined by Muhammad Shafee.
She agreed that the monies from the former premier’s accounts were channelled to various entities instead.
She also agreed that Najib had never issued cheques to his own name from the two accounts ending 694 and 880.
Muhammad Shafee: Do you agree that for someone like him, cash would be more convenient since it is typical for Malaysians to use cash when spending?
Uma Devi: It is up to the individual.
In a previous hearing, Uma Devi testified that Najib issued 46 cheques from his bank account ending 694 amounting to RM10.3mil for payments to various parties including former deputy ministers, Umno divisions, foundations and companies throughout 2011.
The same witness also testified that a sum of RM2.08bil flowed in Najib’s bank account ending 694 through nine transactions in 2013.
Najib, 69, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.28bil from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The hearing resumes before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.