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Ex-banker says never doubted that Jho Low was Najib's adviser

Publish date: Thu, 09 Feb 2023, 06:31 PM

A former AmBank relationship manager told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today she never doubted that fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low was the adviser of Najib Razak, who was at that time the chairman of the 1MDB board of advisers.

Joanna Yu Ging Ping, 52, said Jho Low had introduced himself as Najib’s adviser and that other top 1MDB management officials had referred to Jho Low as "boss".

"In all the meetings we had with 1MDB, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi (then 1MDB CEO), Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, (1MDB chief investment officer) and Terence Geh (then 1MDB deputy chief financial officer) referred to Jho Low as 'boss' and Najib as 'big boss'.

"He (Jho Low) was instrumental in their dealings with 1MDB and for me, I believe he was truly the adviser to Najib. I had never seen Najib at the 1MDB office, but I had seen Jho Low. 

"I believe when Shahrol Azral and Nik Faisal talked about deals, they always referred back to Jho Low. So I didn't have a doubt that Jho Low was representing Najib," she said, adding that she was introduced to Jho Low in 2007.

Yu said this during the re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib at Najib’s trial on the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.
Asked by Akram if anyone had told her that Jho Low was not an adviser to Najib, the witness said no.

She said other communications by Jho Low which made her confident that he was representing Najib were the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats on issues related to the former prime minister's AmBank credit card.

"I did not have reason to doubt him (Jho Low) when he told me (in the BBM chats) that the cheque was written, that the credit card could not be used, that there was a transaction rejected, and when he said there were incoming funds to Najib's accounts, I did not doubt that he represented Datuk Seri (Najib).

"I did not doubt that Jho Low was in contact with Najib, especially on the credit card (issues) in Italy when the bank rejected certain transactions. I felt really bad for rejecting the PM’s credit card transactions. I was worried there would be repercussions and I believed Jho Low communicated with Datuk Seri (Najib) and that he (Low) had received instructions," Yu said.

When asked why she contacted Jho Low regarding Najib’s accounts rather than contacting Najib personally, Yu said: "Because Najib was the prime minister of Malaysia. I didn’t think I could just walk up or call his office, it was not my level."

On how Najib’s accounts were constantly topped up whenever they were overdrawn, Yu said the account received over-the-counter funds from two individuals known as Kee Kok Thiam and Josie.

Akram: Were they Arabs?

Yu: No. As far as I know, they (Kee and Josie) were Malaysian Chinese.
Najib, 69, faces four charges of using his position to receive bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering.

The hearing before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues on Feb 27.

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