MACC allowed for pre-prepared witness statement from Jho Low associate Eric Tan

KUALA LUMPUR (March 3): A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer testified in court today that during its 2015 probe into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, the commission accepted a pre-prepared witness statement from fugitive Eric Tan Kim Loong instead of questioning him.

Mohd Nasharuddin Amir, who is MACC’s assistant commissioner and was an investigating officer in the 1MDB probe, admitted during cross-examination by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram that Tan, who is an associate of fugitive business man Low Taek Jho — better known as Jho Low — was not interviewed by investigating officers, and had instead handed them the statement which was eventually used as an official witness statement.

Typically, an MACC investigating officer would interview a witness and draft a statement based on his or her responses.

Nasharudin also admitted that the official MACC statement was copied and pasted from Tan’s pre-prepared statement with no further additions made, before he signed the document as an admission of his statement.

At proceedings today, Justice Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed for the statements of Tan, Jho Low and Jerome Lee, who is also an associate of the fugitive businessman, to be admitted as exhibits in court after the MACC officers who recorded their statements took the stand.

Azhari Karim, who recorded Lee’s statement, had verified its authenticity, and testified that he had taken the statement at the MACC headquarters on July 22, 2015.

The recording officer for Jho Low’s statement, Ting Ing Ping also took the stand and testified that on Nov 27, 2015, he had recorded Jho Low’s statement at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

During the morning portion of proceedings, MACC chief Latheefa Koya had taken the witness stand but told the court that she was not ready to testify yet, but would be ready on Thursday.

The judge allowed her to stand down till then.

In the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial, Najib is accused of seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving a total of RM42 million SRC funds in 2014 and 2015.

Najib maintained that the sum which he had spent originated from donations from the Saudi royal family.

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