Saturday, February 27, 2021

Court throws out Najib’s suit against AmBank over transactions with Jho Low

Judge rules Najib Razak's suit is scandalous, vexatious, frivolous and an abuse of court process.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out Najib Razak’s suit against AmBank and its former relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping for allegedly mishandling his bank accounts by disclosing transactions to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

Judge Khadijah Idris ruled that Najib’s suit was scandalous, vexatious, frivolous and an abuse of court process.

She made the ruling after allowing AmBank, AMMB Holdings Bhd and Yu as the defendants to strike out the suit filed by Najib on Dec 9 last year.

“This action (suit) by the plaintiff is not to seek damages but for a collateral purpose to bolster the plaintiff’s (defence) in the SRC International case and therefore an abuse of court process,” she said.

She added that Najib initiated the suit after Yu testified in the SRC International trial and when the prosecution in that case said that he had never complained or sued Yu or AmBank over the alleged manipulation of his bank accounts by a third party.

Yu was the 54th prosecution witness in the SRC International trial.

Khadijah also said Najib’s argument that he only discovered the manipulation of his accounts during the trial was unsustainable.

“Based on these grounds, the defendants’ application to strike the suit is allowed,” she said.

The court ordered Najib to pay costs of RM30,000 to both AmBank entities and RM25,000 in costs to Yu.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who represented Najib said he would file an appeal against today’s verdict.

Lawyer Yoong Sin Min acted for Ambank while Gurdial Singh Nijar represented Yu.

Najib in his statement of claim said AmBank and Yu had committed negligence when handling his bank accounts (ending with 694, 880, 898 and 906) by disclosing them to Low, better known as Jho Low.

Najib claimed that the defendants without authorisation had disclosed his bank statements, debit and credit remittance transactions, and balance of funds in account 694 to Low as a third party.

He claimed that the defendants did not engage with him to report Low’s action regarding the said bank accounts and that the bank had facilitated an unauthorised third party to make money transfers between accounts 880, 898 and 906.

The Pekan MP also claimed that he had been kept in the dark about the details of his own bank account statements and other related documents by the bank under Low’s instruction.

He alleged that Low, with the help of other unauthorised third parties, had made 20 transactions to regularise the accounts totalling RM12 million through several local and foreign remittances of funds and that the accounts had been red-flagged by Bank Negara Malaysia.

The former prime minister said the defendants failed to report and obtain direct instructions from him despite the accounts being red-flagged.

Najib also claimed he only discovered the acts committed by the defendants during the SRC International trial after the prosecution revealed the conversations between Yu and the third parties.

In filing the suit, he had sought special, general, aggravated and exemplary damages from the defendants.

On July 28, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali convicted and sentenced Najib to 12 years’ imprisonment and fined him RM210 million over the SRC International criminal case.

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