SRC trial: Najib declared responsibility for all transactions in personal AmBank accounts

Ida Lim
Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak signed a declaration to assume responsibility and liability for all transactions in three accounts at AmBank that were opened under his name, the High Court heard today.

AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager R. Uma Devi today confirmed that Najib had made the declaration when opening the three current accounts on July 31, 2013.

One of the three paragraphs in the declaration that was read out by Uma Devi in court today stated: “We hereby acknowledge that I/we: voluntarily open this account, responsible for all transactions conducted under the account, will scrutinise and verify all transaction under the account, shall be liable for all transactions through the account which are in violation of the law.”

The other two paragraphs in the declaration were for an agreement that the application would be governed by the bank’s terms and conditions, and that such terms and conditions would be adhered to.

The declaration is required to open bank accounts.

AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager, R. Uma Devi, is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex April 25, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Uma Devi is the 21st prosecution witness in Najib’s money-laundering and criminal breach of trust trial over RM42 million of former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds.

The three accounts for which Najib had made the declaration are those bearing the numbers 211-202-201188-0, 211-202-201189-8, and 211-202-201190-6.

Two of these accounts ending with 88-0 and 90-6 were mentioned in the charges against Najib for this case.

Yesterday, Uma Devi testified that Najib previously wrote letters of instruction to inform the AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch manager that he had appointed SRC International director Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil as an authorised personnel to manage these three accounts.

When asked by ad-hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram today, Uma Devi said statements of bank accounts are given each month to the account holder or the mandate holder.

When asked the purpose of the statements, Uma Devi said that “customers have to go through statements to check whether transactions are all in order”.

“Within 14 days, they should come back to the bank if there’s any discrepancies whatsoever,” she said.

Sithambaram then asked: “As the bank manager of AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch, are you aware or found any records of any notification by Datuk Seri Najib to AmBank notifying of any errors, discrepancies, irregularities, unauthorised withdrawals / debits, fraudulent transactions or entries made with a lack of mandate in any of the statements relating to the three accounts?”

Uma Devi then replied: “To my knowledge and records that I have, no.”

All three accounts have since been closed on March 9, 2015.


 

Uma Devi also confirmed that she is not aware of Najib having taken any court action for any alleged wrongful or unauthorised transactions involving his three accounts.

Among other things, Uma Devi today verified that Najib had written multiple letters to grant Nik Faisal the mandate to perform bank transactions on his behalf in relation to the three accounts, including the issuing of instructions for money transfers and payments out of the accounts.

Uma Devi also confirmed that Najib would still have to personally give instructions for bank transactions that were outside Nik Faisal's mandate.

Later during cross-examination, Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh noted the expectation for account holders to contact the bank within 14 days upon receiving account statements over any irregular transactions.

Harvinderjit however highlighted a hypothetical scenario where the account holder “has no knowledge of the statement” or “never seen the statement”, questioning if the 14-day situation would not apply to such cases.

Uma Devi replied: “The account holder will be liable for all transactions.”

Harvinderjit then continued to suggest that an account holder would not be able to make any complaints, if he had “never seen the statements or the statements were kept away from him”.

Sithambaram however objected to the way Harvinderjit questioned the prosecution witness, saying: “These are conjectures. 'If he is kept away' ― it is conjectures, giving opinion.”

Harvinderjit then dropped this line of questioning.

The trial before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is expected to resume next Monday.

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