Shafee tells court rogue bankers may have put a spoke in Najib’s wheel

For the duration of the 1MDB trial, TTF will carry key testimonies and reports involving both prosecution and defence witnesses. Source (pic): TTF

Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh said today that the defence needed any communication between Joanna and several other Ambank bankers with Jho Low, and others.

The individuals he named included Nik Faisal Arif Kamil, Jerome Lee Tak Loong, Terrance Geh Choh Heng, Jasmine Loo, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim, Datuk Mohamed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin, and See Yoh Peng.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah later said one or two of the bankers could be “rogue” and communicated with the individuals named in a fashion not sanctioned by the bank.

Speaking to reporters later, he said the defence wanted to prove that Najib was a victim of a conspiracy by Jho Low and his gang.


KUALA LUMPUR: It was a day when the issue of rogue bankers was brought up and also one where the infamous Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low’s name was finally mentioned.

The fourth day of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial today saw the prosecution and defence getting into a protracted argument on the submission of items seized by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) officials during a raid on the AmBank Group office in Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015.

The drama started during the cross-examination of BNM investigating officer Ahmad Farhan Syarifuddin, 32.


Farhan had testified that three BNM’s teams had raided the AmBank office and seized a number of document and items related to several bank accounts including that of the former prime minister.

He said some of the items were in his possession, but he could not remember what they were.

At this juncture, Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh immediately requested that the defence be given access to the items.

However, deputy public prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram protested and questioned the relevancy of the defence’s application.

“We can give it to them, but they must satisfy provisions of the law before making this application.

“What they are doing is just a fishing expedition.

“They keep asking for documents and other things without showing how it is going to be relevant to their case,” he said, adding that if the application was allowed it would lead to the defence doing the same thing to other witnesses.

He also argued that the defence needed to satisfy Section 51 of the Evidence Act, before their application could be considered.

This led to a back and fourth argument among Harvinderjit, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Sithambaram, and Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas who is leading the prosecution team.

Things got even more interesting when Harvinderjit suddenly brought up a report that was published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which cited alleged messages between Jho Low and Najib’s relationship manager at Ambank by the name of Joanna Yu.

He also read out excerpts from the best-selling book on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal titled “Billion Dollar Whale”.

The book was also produced in court, much to the amusement of everyone present.

He said articles published in the WSJ and the book had detailed transcripts of the conversation between Jho Low and Joanna, where the duo discussed in detail how to conceal information concerning Najib’s account.

He argued that the defence needed access to everything that had been seized by the BNM officers from AmBank’s branch as these could shed light on the role of rogue bankers and Jho Low in handling Najib’s account.

“This trial is also going to be about methodology of how the account’s were managed.

“The WSJ was the one which first wrote about the SRC International scandal.

“The WSJ’s article was published on July 2, 2015, four days before AmBank was raided,” he said, adding the article contained details of Blackberry messages and also emails and communication between various figures involved in the 1MDB fiasco.

After almost an hour of arguments between the two sides, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled in favour of the defence.

He said given the grounds faced by the defence relating to the conversation among the bankers and other parties, he would allow the defence’s application.

Harvinderjit then rose and said the defence needed any communication between Joanna and several other Ambank bankers with Jho Low, and others.

The individuals he named included Nik Faisal Arif Kamil, Jerome Lee Tak Loong, Terrance Geh Choh Heng, Jasmine Loo, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim, Datuk Mohamed Azhar Osman Khairuddin, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin, and See Yoh Peng.

Shafee later said one or two of the bankers could be “rogue” and communicated with the individuals named in a fashion not sanctioned by the bank.

Speaking to reporters later, he said the defence wanted to prove that Najib was a victim of a conspiracy by Jho Low and his gang.

“My client does not deal with his account himself. He was misled and is a victim,” he said.

The trial continues.

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