KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bank Negara (BNM) Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz had received copies of two official letters from the Saudi Arabia Kingdom in 2011 confirming the Middle East Royals’ nearly RM1.5 billion cash gifts to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told that Zeti received both letters, which were addressed to Najib, from former AmBank managing director Cheah Tek Kuang.
In the first letter dated Feb 1, 2011, the Saudi Kingdom confirmed that it had donated Najib a cash gift of USD100 million, or RM306.15 million according to exchange rate then.
In the second letter dated Nov 1, 2011, the Saudi Royals confirmed that the kingdom had given Najib another cash gift of USD375 million, or RM1.17 billion according to exchange rate then.
Testifying at the Najib’s trial today, Thursday, July 18, 2019, Cheah said that he received copies of both letters from the bank’s relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping.
“Upon receiving the letters, I have submitted the letters to Tan Sri Zeti on both occassions,” Cheah testified before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Yesterday Cheah testified he had personally informed Zeti about the imminent cash donation coming from Saudi Arabia Kingdom for Najib when he met her in January 2011.
In his witness statement, Cheah said he arranged an appointment to meet Zeti after Najib had opened private accounts in Ambank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch.
The prosecution’s 50th witness also testified that Najib had told him that the private accounts were needed solely to facilitate an incoming donation from Saudi Arabia.
“Tan Sri Zeti Aziz informed me that she has no objections for Ambank to do so but reminded that the opening of the said accounts are to be made following the banking rules and regulations,” testified Cheah on July 17, 2019.
Najib currently faces seven corruption charges pertaining to SRC International funds.
The Pekan MP 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 charges were 3 each for CBT under Section 409 of the Penal Code and money laundering under Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001, and 1 for abuse of power under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACC) 2009.
Earlier at the hearing today, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas demanded an apology from Najib for posting comments on Facebook about his credit card spending.
“He should make a full and unconditional apology for what he did,” he said, adding that as any other accused person, Najib must be treated equally under the law.
Thomas said two witnesses had given evidence on Najib’s credit card spending and that the former prime minister had taken to Facebook on Monday and Tuesday to explain the purpose of the expenditure.
“Such conduct must cease,” he said, adding that the rule of sub judice applies even though Najib’s case is not trial by jury.
“He cannot expect to be treated above others just because he is a former prime minister and has a political audience.”
According to Malaysia’s criminal justice system, Thomas said, the prosecution presents its case and if the defence is called, Najib would be able to put forward his case in the court of law.
“That is his right, but he must understand what I have said,” he added.
Najib’s defence team will make submission on the matter on Monday. – NTHQibord, 18 Julai 2019.