1MDB trial: Najib authorised Nik Faisal to handle his AmIslamic code-named accounts, but told bank will still be responsible if money moved out

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously told AmIslamic Bank that he would be responsible for any payments or movement of money out of his three code-named personal accounts, even if the instructions for the transactions were made by his authorised account handler Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the High Court heard today.

AmIslamic bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi confirmed this while testifying as the 37th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Uma Devi, 43, has been the manager of this branch since July 2015, and verified multiple bank documents regarding funds in Najib’s personal AmIslamic bank accounts which had been opened at the branch.

Today, Uma Devi verified Najib’s August 26, 2013 letter to the bank’s branch manager, where the then prime minister confirmed he had appointed Nik Faisal as his “authorised personnel” for his three accounts — which carried different code names.

Nik Faisal was formerly a chief investment officer of 1MDB and a former chief executive officer of SRC International Sdn Bhd, and is now a fugitive wanted in Malaysia.

The three code-named AmIslamic bank accounts are 211-202-201188-0 (AmPrivate Banking-1MY), 211-202-201189-8 (AmPrivate Banking-Y1MY) and 211-202-201190-6 (AmPrivate Banking-MY).

Based on Najib’s letter, Uma Devi confirmed that Najib had authorised Nik Faisal to give any written instructions to the bank to issue a bank draft or cashier’s order for these three accounts (AmPrivate Banking-1MY, AmPrivate Banking-Y1MY, AmPrivate Banking-MY) and to give instructions to the AmBank Group Treasury for the purpose of Treasury Deposit or Money Market Placements.

“This letter also confirmed that Datuk Seri Mohd Najib bin Hj Ab Razak is responsible for those transactions as if issued by him himself,” she told the High Court today.

Bankers from AmBank previously testified in this trial that high net worth clients of AmBank are handled by a unit called AmPrivateBanking, which keeps the clients’ identities confidential by using code names for their bank accounts. Bank staff processing transactions had previously also told the court that they did not know the actual account holder's name as the code names were used for Najib's accounts in the transactions.

AmIslamic bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, September 8, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
AmIslamic bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, September 8, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

AmIslamic bank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, September 8, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

Najib gave okay for bank to process cheques up to RM250,000 each without asking him

Uma Devi also verified Najib’s other letters which informed AmIslamic bank of his appointment of Nik Faisal to handle financial matters for his personal bank accounts.

For example, Najib had in a March 10, 2011 letter to the AmIslamic Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager said he had appointed Nik Faisal to be his authorised personnel for his two other accounts 211-002-20009048-1 and 211-202-200969-4.

Najib told the bank he was authorising Nik Faisal to carry out enquiry of the bank accounts’ status and details including the balance of money in the account, and to confirm cheques beyond the amount of RM250,000.

Najib instructed AmIslamic bank to clear and confirm all cheques up to the value of RM250,000 without checking with him or Nik Faisal.

The account ending 9694 is the same account which was recorded to have received over sums totalling over RM60 million in February and June 2011, and to have been used to send out over RM8.4 million via 38 cheques — with some cheques having figures as high as RM1 million.

In a June 20, 2013 letter to the same branch manager, Najib confirmed he had appointed Nik Faisal as his authorised personnel to handle his AmBank accounts (but without specifying any bank account) and authorised the latter to confirm the account status and details including account balance, to confirm cheques exceeding the sum of RM250,000, and to take cheque books and statements of account.

Later in a July 31, 2013 letter to the branch manager, Najib cited his previous instructions in the June 20 letter when asking AmIslamic to grant Nik Faisal the mandate as authorised personnel over the three accounts 211-202-201188-0, 211-202-201189-8 and 211-202-201190-6. These three accounts are the same accounts that were given the code names AmPrivate Banking-1MY, AmPrivate Banking-Y1MY and AmPrivate Banking-MY.

In all these letters giving his mandate to Nik Faisal to handle matters relating to his accounts, Najib had said that the mandate will continue unless he gives any written notice to the bank to terminate the appointment of Nik Faisal as his authorised personnel.

The 1MDB trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah is set to resume next Monday, with Uma Devi expected to continue testifying.