Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) was brainchild of Jho Low who also attended meetings, court told

Najib is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money. Source (pic): TTF

The Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), which later became 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was the brainchild of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin, said that his boss, Najib’s principal special officer, the late Datuk Azlin Alias, and Low had told him that TIA was an idea by Low, which was agreed to by Najib.

“Najib wanted TIA to become a special vehicle for strategic investments overseas, where Jho Low would act as the director,” he said.

Amhari said meetings between Low and Azlin were held discreetly at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.


KUALA LUMPUR: The Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), which later became 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was the brainchild of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low.

Taking the stand in the 1MDB money laundering trial today, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s former special officer, Datuk Amhari Effendi Nazaruddin, said Low had personally briefed him about TIA.




“Earlier, we had attended a meeting with the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, to brief him about TIA.

“I was representing the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Jho Low was representing TIA advisors.

“The meeting, which was chaired by the ruler himself, was held at the Terengganu Palace in Kuala Lumpur.

“It was an unofficial meeting and Najib was not there,” he said.

Amhari said later, they went to Low’s house, where the businessman briefed him about TIA by drawing on a whiteboard in his kitchen.

“He (Low) told me that the initial idea of TIA involved fund raising.

“I only understood the basic concept, as I did not have any background in investment banking and fund raising.

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“Jho Low had attended several TIA meetings in his capacity as a special advisor for TIA,” he said.

Amhari said that his boss, Najib’s principal special officer, the late Datuk Azlin Alias, and Low had told him that TIA was an idea by Low, which was agreed to by Najib.

“Najib wanted TIA to become a special vehicle for strategic investments overseas, where Jho Low would act as the director,” he said.

Amhari said meetings between Low and Azlin were held discreetly at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

“Jho Low would contact me to set up a meeting with Azlin, and it was always at the Prince Hotel at night.

“The issues discussed were highly classified, and Jho Low usually emailed me the documents for the meeting beforehand.

“I did not participate in the meeting, because my job is only to set up the meeting,” he said.

He said that after the 1MDB issue surfaced, Low tightened security during meetings by hiring bodyguards to escort them to the room at the hotel.

“There were one or two bodyguards escorting (them) to the room, where (they) would meet for almost an hour,” he said.

Amhari said Low always appeared in batik shirts and was mostly in a hurry.

“He also put a security password on all documents attached in his emails and sent us the password via Blackberry messenger,” he said.

Amhari said Low had informed him and Azlin that he met with Najib before attending the meetings, and that the latter had instructed us to initiate the plans.

“We always carried out his instructions, as Azlin was very loyal to Najib and would carry out instructions without (question),” he said, adding that Najib never attended the meetings as he had given the mandate and authorisation to Low.

However, he said the “secret meetings” became “weird” as Low became more aggressive with his instructions.

“Sometimes, I saw my boss (Azlin) raise his eyebrow, surprised, and questioned instructions such as to expedite financial approval.

“However, Jho Low would reply calmly and ask us to contact Najib for confirmation,” he said.

Amhari said Azlin, in several meetings, raised his concerns about instructions that came from Low.

“However, when he checked with Najib, the former premier confirmed and agreed with it,” he said.

Amhari also revealed that Jho Low had instructed them to destroy the documents as the matters were discreet and they had to avoid leakages of information.

“I usually destroyed the documents after each meeting, but there were several documents that I overlooked and did not destroy.

“Sometimes, my boss gave me a copy of his documents to me for safekeeping after his meeting with Jho Low,” he said, adding that Low also wanted them to delete all conversations and emails.

Najib is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money.

The former finance minister is alleged to have committed gratification offences at the AmIslamic Bank Berhad, at No.55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014.

For the money laundering charges, Najib is alleged to have committed the offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.

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