Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low would not have dared to deceive Najib Razak because of their good relationship, the Court of Appeal was told today.
Ad hoc prosecutor V Sithambaram said it was too far-fetched that Jho Low, being in a position subordinate to Najib, would have had the audacity to orchestrate fraudulent transactions that would directly implicate the former prime minister.
Sithambaram submitted this before a three-member bench led by judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil in the hearing of Najib’s appeal against his conviction and jail sentence for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.
The other two judges on the bench were Has Zanah Mehat and Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.
“Jho Low was instrumental in the remittance of RM42 million out of SRC into the appellant’s accounts and could not have affected the transfer without the appellant’s knowledge,” Sithambaram said.
He added that the close relationship between Jho Low and Najib was further confirmed by the 50th prosecution witness, former AmBank group managing director Cheah Tek Kuang.
In fact, Jho Low was the one who introduced Cheah to Najib at the appellant’s private residence when he wanted to open the AmBank accounts, he said.
On Jho Low’s efforts to ensure the sufficiency of funds in Najib’s accounts, Sithambaram said Najib even explained that Jho Low had worked hard to ensure that all his cheques were honoured or he would have been prompted to enquire into the status of his accounts, thus exposing the true transactions of the accounts.
“Now, the appellant claims to be a victim of manipulation by gaining funds (instead of losing them) through Jho Low’s actions.
“The appellant said that Jho Low had made a lot of money from his involvement in Terengganu Investment Authority Bhd, 1MDB and SRC.
“That was actually the reason Jho Low was ensuring that the funds (in the accounts) were available… so that his relationship with the appellant would not be affected, thereby arousing the suspicion of the appellant,” Sithambaram said.
He said evidence from the BlackBerry Messenger chats between the 54th prosecution witness, AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, and Jho Low confirmed that the latter was in communication with Najib in relation to his bank balances and the issuance of cheques.
“Jho Low was not taking any steps in a reactionary manner to ensure the appellant’s cheques would not be dishonoured,” Sithambaram insisted.
He added that the RM42 million from SRC International was said to be bait to continue the relationship between Jho Low and the appellant.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 28 last year sentenced Najib to 12 years’ jail and fined him RM210 million after finding him guilty on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of position involving RM42 million in SRC International funds.
The hearing of the appeal continues.