KUALA LUMPUR: A former AmBank relationship manager to Datuk Seri Najib Razak testified that she had believed fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho to be the adviser to the former prime minister.
Joanna Yu, 51, told the High Court that she had no doubt that Low, better known as Jho Low, represented Najib.
The prosecution witness said Low, whom she met in 2007, had first introduced himself as the adviser to the premier then.
This was compounded by the fact that other top management of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) referred to Low as "boss".
Yu said during meetings with 1MDB, Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (then 1MDB chief executive officer), Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, (then chief investment officer of 1MDB) and Terence Geh (then 1MDB deputy chief financial officer) referred to Low as "boss" and Najib as "big boss".
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“He (Jho Low) was very instrumental in their dealings on 1MDB and for me, I believe he was truly the adviser to Datuk Seri Najib.
"However, I have not seen Datuk Seri Najib at the 1MDB office, but I have seen Jho Low. I believe when Shahrol Azral and Nik Faisal talked about deals, they always referred back to Jho Low. So, I didn't doubt Jho Low was representing Datuk Seri Najib,” the witness said in her cross-examination conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib here on Thursday (Feb 9).
The prosecution witness was testifying at Najib's graft trial involving the misappropriation of RM2.28bil from 1MDB funds.
The prosecutor then asked Yu if anybody had told her that Low was not an adviser to Najib.
"No," the witness answered.
DPP Ahmad Akram: It was put to you that you were colluding with Jho Low behind Najib's back. What made you believe Jho Low?
Yu: I did not have a reason to doubt him. When he says the cheque is written, a cheque was written. When he says there are incoming funds, there were incoming funds.
The witness recalled one instance where a credit card transaction was rejected in Italy.
"I felt really bad because we rejected the PM's transaction.
"That one I was worried there would be repercussions and I believed Jho Low communicated with Datuk Seri (Najib) and that he (Low) received instructions,” Yu said.
When asked whether she contacted Najib personally to confirm the instructions from Low, Yu answered in the negative.
"He was the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I didn’t think I would just walk up or call his office, it was not my level," she said.
Najib, 70, is on trial for 25 charges in total - four for abuse of power that allegedly brought him financial benefit to the tune of RM2.28bil; and 21 for money laundering involving the same amount of money.
The hearing before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Feb 27.