Jho Low drew out wealth fund concept on kitchen whiteboard, says Najib’s ex-aide

04-Sep-2019 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin told the High Court today that he was briefed about the creation of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) by none other than Low Taek Jho in the latter’s kitchen here.

Amhari, formerly an aide to the ex-prime minister now on trial for allegedly abusing his position and funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was testifying on the transition of TIA from a Terengganu wealth fund to a federal investment firm.

He explained that he understood TIA started out as a collaboration between the Terengganu government and the federal government that aimed to generate wealth through foreign investments.

“I was made to understand the initial idea behind the formation of TIA involved fundraising, which was explained to me by Jho himself at his home located in Apartment 3 Kia Peng.

“During the explanation, Jho made sketches on a whiteboard that was in his kitchen,” Amhari, said, reading aloud from his witness statement.

He said Low explained that TIA was conceptualised as a sovereign wealth fund, a concept used by an Abu Dhabi company wholly-owned by the United Arab Emirates government.

“At that time, Jho mentioned how this matter needed to be executed because it was under the instructions of Datuk Seri Najib, while also being a ‘baby’ project to Datuk Seri Najib through Jho’s ideas,” Amhari said.

Amhari included how it was Low and not Najib who wanted him to be involved with TIA, saying he believed it was due to his experience and knowledge of economics paired with his past experience of working in Bank Negara Malaysia.

“Towards the end of 2008, I received a message from Jho (Low) via BBM(Blackberry Messenger) that roughly said, ‘I’ve got approval/blessing from Datuk Seri Najib for you to join meeting for TIA’.

“I was told to also be present in meetings to discuss the formation of TIA to be a representative of Datuk Seri Najib who at that time was the deputy prime minister and finance minister,” he said.

He explained that subsequent meetings saw him and Low present alongside Terengganu Sultan, Sultan Risal Zainal Abidin, who at that time was the serving Yang DiPertuan Agong.

“While we waited for the arrival of His Highness Tuanku Misan, Jho (Low) even told me he was at that time serving as the advisor to the Sultan Tuanku Misan,” he said.

In this trial, Najib is facing four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion from the sovereign investment fund and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.

The trial resumes tomorrow morning before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.



Category: Malaysia

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