Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Only Jho Low could confirm that instructions came from Najib, ex-1MDB CEO tells court

Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman also agrees to the suggestion that funds were misappropriated from 1MDB and funnelled to various organisations for Jho Low's benefit.

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court was today told that only fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low could confirm that instructions on how to operate 1MDB came from Najib Razak.

Former 1MDB CEO Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman said this under cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed at the former prime minister’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in funds from 1MDB.

Wan Aizuddin was questioning the 49-year-old witness on the mismanagement of 1MDB that had caused the strategic development company to incur unnecessary loans and liabilities, to which Hazem agreed.

The witness also agreed to Wan Aizuddin’s suggestion that there were funds misappropriated from 1MDB and funnelled to various organisations for the benefit of Jho Low.

Wan Aizuddin: Now you say in various parts of your witness statement and in the evidence in court that you had consistently been receiving instructions from Jho Low. From the talking points and even orally?

Hazem: Yes.

Wan Aizuddin: You would also agree with me that only Jho Low can confirm in this court that all these instructions given by him were from Najib?

Hazem: Yes.

The witness also agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that Jho Low was now a fugitive of the law after fleeing from the country.

Earlier, another lawyer representing Najib, Mardhiyah Siraj, suggested to the witness that he had made a “deal” with the prosecution to implicate the former prime minister to escape charges being framed against him.

Mardhiyah: You only seem to remember whatever that implicates Najib, including Jho Low’s purported direct access to Najib. When it comes to matters that you were directly involved in, you conveniently forget.

Hazem: I disagree.

Mardhiyah: You agreed yesterday that 1MDB was being run like a coffee shop, which means you had breached many company laws. I put it to you that you’re lying in court to implicate Najib to escape the charges.

Hazem answered in the negative to all the suggestions made by the lawyer.

The defence concluded 23 days of cross-examination of Hazem, who has been on the stand since Sept 14, 2020.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam said the prosecution would call the former chief financial officer of 1MDB, Azmi Tahir, as its next witness tomorrow.

Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial is before justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

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