KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — The High Court today heard that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the sole signatory for cheques from his AmIslamic bank account ending 9694.
This is the same bank account which was verified to have issued 38 cheques for the transfer of RM8.4 million in just more than a years’ time during the March 2011 to May 2012 period to 29 recipients, with the bulk or RM4.67 million given to Umno via its different divisions and branches.
Today, AmBank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi confirmed that Najib had on January 13, 2011 opened the current account ending 9694 (full account number 211-202-200969-4) at the branch via an account opening form which he had signed, and that he had paid the minimum RM500 required to open the account.
“The authorised signatory for this personal account is Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak himself as the sole authorised signatory for cheques that are issued. This means, only he alone can sign cheques and carry out matters through this account,” she told the High Court today.
AmBank's Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi is seen leaving the Lumpur High Court September 8, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Uma Devi was testifying as the 37th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds.
Najib, who has been serving his jail sentence in Kajang Prison since August 23 and is still Pekan MP, was seen sitting in the accused’s dock wearing a pale blue-grey suit with a light blue shirt and also with a tie.
Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was seen sitting in the courtroom for about 40 minutes of the trial today. Najib’s son Datuk Mohd Nizar was later spotted outside the courtroom’s area after the end of court proceedings today.
Yesterday and the day before, AmBank cheque processing centre’s senior manager Badrul Hisam Mohamad had as the 36th prosecution witness verified the 38 cheques issued from Najib’s AmIslamic bank account, with the amount confirmed to come up to a total of RM8,405,850 or over RM8.4 million.
Badrul Hisam had confirmed that all the 38 cheques carried Najib’s signature.
The cheques’ recipients included Pekan Umno which received RM340,000 via three cheques issued in April 2011, April 2012 and May 2012, Pekan Umno Wanita (RM30,000 via June 2011 cheque), Selangor Umno (RM3.9 million via two cheques issued in September and November 2011 and two cheques issued in March 2012), Barisan Nasional’s Bandar Tun Razak division (RM200,000 via March 2012 cheque), Machang Umno (RM400,000 via April 2012 cheque) and several politicians.
The 1MDB trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes next Monday.
Today, Uma Devi also confirmed that Najib's AmIslamic bank account ending 9694 had received two lump sums of over RM30 million each in February 2011 and in June 2011, based on the account's bank statements.
This would be RM30,449,929.97 being transferred on February 24, 2011 to this account belonging to Najib, and RM30,179,909.46 entering the same account on June 14, 2011.
This would come up to a total of RM60,629,839.43 or over RM60 million entering his account within just a gap of less than four months. She did not indicate whether the bank statements had recorded the source of these funds or what the source was.
The prosecution had on the first day of the 1MDB trial said it would show that US$700 million of funds belonging to 1MDB had made its way to several individuals including a Prince Faisal, who is alleged to have transferred US$10 million to Najib on February 24, 2011 and another US$10 million on June 14, 2011 to Najib, with the US$20 million stated as equivalent to RM60,629,839.43. The prosecution had said this would be related to the first charge of power abuse under an anti-corruption law against Najib in this trial.
Among other things, Uma Devi confirmed that Najib had in a March 10, 2011 letter told the AmIslamic Jalan Raja Chulan branch that he was appointing Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to be the authorised personnel for this account ending 9694, and also instructed the bank to go ahead to clear and confirm all cheques up to the value of RM250,000 without checking with him or Nik Faisal.
Just days before Najib closed the AmIslamic current account ending 9694 in 2013, he made arrangements to have funds there transferred to his new AmIslamic current account ending 880.
Najib had in an August 26, 2013 letter to the branch manager instructed for the 9694 account to transfer RM150 million to the 880 account (otherwise known by its code name AmPrivate Banking 1-MY), and RM150 million was then transferred out on August 27, 2013 to the 880 account.
In a separate letter also on August 26, 2013, Najib instructed the bank branch to close down his current account ending 9694 and his savings account ending 0481 (full account number: 211-002-009048-1), and to have all funds transferred to the 880 account.
On August 30, 2013, over RM12 million (or RM12,436,711.87 to be precise) was transferred from Najib's account ending 9694 to the 880 account. On the same day, Najib closed his 9694 and 0481 account.
Three of Najib's AmIslamic personal bank accounts had code names which disguised or hid the client's identity in banking transactions, and were all opened on July 31, 2013 and closed on March 9, 2015.
These accounts are the 880 account or 211-202-201188-0 (better known by its code name AmPrivate Banking-1MY), 211-202-201189-8 (AmPrivate Banking-Y1MY) and 211-202-201190-6 (AmPrivate Banking-MY). These three accounts had also surfaced during Najib's separate trial over the misappropriation of RM42 million of Finance Ministry-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd's funds.
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.