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1MDB-Tanore trial: Witness implies Najib may have misled Dewan Rakyat on 1MDB in 2015

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Datuk Seri Najib Razak's former aide Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin (pictured left) has implied that the former Prime Minister may have misled the Dewan Rakyat when he said that Low Taek Jho has never worked for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

In a re-examination of the prosecution's eighth witness yesterday, senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram referred to a document recovered by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which contains answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs) related to 1MDB that was prepared by the missing businessman — who is also known as Jho Low — for Najib in 2015.

Sri Ram: What is the purpose of this document?

Amhari: The purpose of this document is basically to give an update of what are the answers to the questions raised with regards to 1MDB and related matters.

Sri Ram: So in other words, this is the answers to FAQs?

Amhari: Correct.

Sri Ram: One of the answers is — "Jho Low was one of the many advisors appointed by Tuanku Agong — at that time — to TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority) in January 2009 to May 2009, together with many other local and international advisers.

Another answer says that "Jho Low does not have any role in 1MDB".

Now is that an accurate statement? Is it a true statement?

Amhari: It is not correct. 

Sri Ram: Are you aware that the accused, in answering a question put to him in the Dewan Rakyat, said that Jho Low was not an employee of 1MDB?

Amhari: I cannot remember the Parliament session.

It was previously reported that in a written reply to the then-Wangsa Maju MP Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong back in March 2015, Najib said that Jho Low has no involvement in the wholly government-owned strategic development company.

"Low Taek Jho has never worked in 1MDB and all decisions and transactions are made by the company’s management and board of directors," Najib said.

Tan, in Parliament on March 12, had wanted to know if there were any connection between Jho Low and 1MDB.

This means Najib may have used the answers from the document to reply to the 1MDB-related question in Parliament.

According to Amhari, Jho Low had in fact prepared a list of FAQs about 1MDB for Najib, when the company started drawing unwanted attention, which included a statement denying his involvement in 1MDB.

The FAQ was one such example given by the 43-year-old witness to demonstrate the influence the Penang-born businessman allegedly wielded over the former premier.

Earlier in his witness statement, to illustrate Jho Low's involvement in 1MDB, Amhari claimed Jho Low instructed the change of the members of the board of directors in 1MDB, which comprised mostly of individuals from the private sector, to individuals from the government sector, as part of the 1MDB rationalisation plan in 2015. 

When Amhari checked with Najib of the proposal, he said the former prime minister confirmed the directives.

Najib faces four charges of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering, involving billions of ringgit in 1MDB funds.

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