KUALA LUMPUR – A crucial evidence pertaining to a data extracted from a cellular phone disappeared into thin air from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) final investigation report on several suspicious big money transactions involving former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 4 accounts in AmBank.
BNM investigating officer Ahmad Farhan Shariffudin testified on Day 15 of the Najib-SRC Trial that in August 2015, he had seen the report prepared by a BNM officer on the communication data extracted from a Blackberry Bold 9790.
The Blackberry cellular phone was seized from an AmBank officer Joanna Yu during a raid at the bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch office on July 6, 2015.
The BNM raiding party had also seized a Samsung Galaxy 4 cellular phone from one, Krystale Yap, during the raid at AmBank’s office.
On July 6, the phones were handed over to the forensics team.
On July 8, the forensics team was instructed to extract data from the phones.
Ahmad Farhan testified that the report on Blackberry data was however, missing from the final report of BNM investigation papers on suspicious transactions involving Najib’s 4 credit card and current accounts.
“In August, 2015, I saw the extraction report on the Blackberry data. But the report was not kept in the final investigation papers,” he testified during a cross-examination.
Ahmad Farhan, who was the 4th prosecution witness in the trial, testified today as continuation of his cross examination at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, Wednesday May 8, 2019.
In his first testimony, Ahmad Farhan had said that his investigation had uncovered evidence on communication between Joanna Yu and US-based businessman Jho Low.
It is believed that the omitted phone data from BNM final investigation report was communication details between Joanna Yu and Jho Low.
It’s puzzling to know that a crucial evidence of a high profile case involving a former premier had gone missing from the final investigation report of a highly responsible financial regulator, BNM, and had disappeared into thin air.
One wonders whether the vital evidence was detrimental to the prosecution case for it would have been produced in court if it was damaging to the defence!
Earlier, Ahmad Farhan testified that AmBank was investigated and fined in November 2015, for failing to report to BNM on the suspicious transactions in Najib’s accounts via Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR).
The investigation was conducted under The Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).
AmBank was probed and penalised under Section 14 of Amla.
Ahmad Farhan told the court that BNM did not alert Najib or call him up to give clarification on several big money transactions in his accounts.
The BNM’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department manager testified that a specific provision under AMLA prevented a bank from tipping off the account holder.
“The reporting institution should not disclose. They only submit STR. The reporting institution not allowed to disclose it to the person. That’s tantamout to tipping off which is prohibited under AMLA,” he replied to a question by lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee further asked on whether: “The account holder should be notified of any suspicious transactions especially when the account is being run by a mandate”, to which Ahmad Farhan declined to answer the question.
“I have no comment. In the first place, STR was not submitted to us,” the witness replied.
Najib is facing 7 counts of corruption charges involving abuse of power, money-laundering and criminal breach of trust pertaining to a RM42 million that was deposited from SRC International Sdn Bhd’s account to Najib’s account in AmBank.
The trial is before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali. – NTHQiBord, 8 Mei 2019.