KUALA LUMPUR – Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) didn’t flag Amla or STR red alerts on any money transaction involving 3 private current accounts of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.
AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Umma Devi testified on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, that BNM was fully aware about all these transactions involving the 3 accounts with numbers ending 880, 898 and 906.
She confirmed that these accounts were separate from the earlier 2 accounts that received political funds between 2011 and 2013.
The later 3 accounts were opened in mid-2013 and closed in 2015.
Umma Devi testified that BNM did not raise red alert flags despite 40 overdrawn transactions involving the 3 accounts, which were not facilitated with overdraft privileges.
During cross examination by the defence, Umma Devi said that the overdrawn transactions of money were as high as between RM5 million and RM7 million at times.
She said numerous inter-account transfers of money and cash deposits, which at times were up to RM1.5 million, were made into Najib’s accounts to cater the overdrawn transactions.
“Despite all these heavy transactions of money, BNM never raised the red alert flags”, she told the court.
BNM is the highest financial body that monitors and investigates any suspicious money transactions in the country.
Tan Seri Zeti Akhtar Aziz was then BNM Governor.
Amla is the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 and STR is Suspicious Transaction Report.
Najib had opened several private accounts in AmBank since January 13, 2011 to manage the political funds, which was worth approximately RM2.751 billion.
On Monday, Umma Devi testified that BNM was fully aware of and had consented to transactions of these political funds in and out of Najib’s first 2 bank accounts, which were closed in August, 2013.
The transactions took place in 3 stages between 2011 and 2013.
The 21st witness has told the court that BNM was alerted under the Ringgit Operations Monitoring System in February, 2011 on the imminent incoming political funds.
BNM and Zeti were fully aware about all details of the political funds, including their source.
The 1st fund worth USD98 million, which was approximately RM310.66 million according to exchange rate then, was deposited into a Najib’s account in 2011.
The 2nd fund worth USD98 million, which was approximately RM298.9 million according to exchange rate then, was banked into a Najib’s account in 2012.
Based on bank records, the 3rd fund worth USD680 million, which was approximately RM2.142 billion according to exchange rate then, came into a Najib’s account just before GE13 in 2013.
Post-13th General Election, Najib had kept RM162 million after returning USD620 million to the same account that deposited the political funds.
Revealing all these, Umma Devi testified that Najib had transferred RM162 million of the political funds to a new account number ending 880.
From that account, parts of the funds were dispersed to other accounts with number ending 898 and 906, which were facilitated with bank cheque books.
Najib had appointed then SRC International Sdn Bhd CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as the authorised person to manage these 3 accounts.
Hence the bank only communicated with Nik Faisal, not Najib, over all matters pertaining to these accounts.
Najib is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust (CBT) in the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a former unit of 1MDB.
He is also accused of abusing his power as Prime Minister by giving government guarantees on SRC’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.
He was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd in Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.
The trial is being presided by Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. – NTHQiBord, 30 April 2019.