Friday, December 3, 2021

Najib’s adviser Jho Low the man behind the scenes at 1MDB, court told

Former 1MDB non-executive director Ismee Ismail says Jho Low had a very good relationship with Najib Razak.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur was today told that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was the man behind the scenes at 1MDB.

Former 1MDB non-executive director Ismee Ismail, 57, said he did not know the capacity of Jho Low’s involvement in 1MDB, adding however that its directors always received his emails detailing various suggestions for them to carry out.

“What I and the 1MDB board of directors knew was that Jho Low had a very good relationship with Najib Razak. It was because of the good relationship between Jho Low and Najib that the 1MDB board tended not to ignore his proposals,” he said.

Ismee, who is the 13th prosecution witness, said this when reading out his 111-page witness statement at Najib’s corruption and money laundering trial involving RM2.3 million belonging to 1MDB.

He said he first met Jho Low at the appointment of members of the steering committee of the Terengganu Investment Board (TIA) at Istana Terengganu in early 2009.

TIA was a strategic investment company, which was later known as 1MDB.

He said he did not know in what capacity Jho Low was present at the ceremony and initially thought that he was an adviser to the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

It was during the meetings that he came to realise that Jho Low was Najib’s adviser at the TIA steering committee as he always addressed the prime minister as “boss”, he said, adding that Jho Low’s appointment was not documented after TIA changed its name to 1MDB.

He also told the court that Jho Low joined Najib, who was on an official trip, to Abu Dhabi to see a model of a mosque that would be built in Malaysia in a joint venture between Aabar and 1MDB.

“On one occasion, during the haj season, Jho Low helped to obtain an additional 10,000 haj quota for Malaysians,” he added.

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

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues.

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