KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Bernama) -- A former banker told the High Court here today that more than RM150 million was deposited into three concealed AmBank accounts belonging to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2014 and 2015.
Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping, 48, testified that Najib's private banking account ending with 694, which was closed in 2013, had transferred two amounts into another one of his account ending 880 but it was fully utilised, as the balance went down to RM736.17 as at Sept 30, 2014.
Referring to Najib's bank account statements with numbers ending 694, 880 and 906, Yu confirmed the banking account ending 906 received a total of RM6,779,063 between June 2014 and March 2015, while the account ending 880 received RM5.6 million through cash deposits in January and February 2015.
According to Yu, there were 20 cheque books for each account, totalling 80 cheque books for all four accounts, including another private account ending 898, belonging to Najib.
The 54th prosecution witness said this during the direct examination by deputy public prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram on the 41st day of the trial of Najib, who is facing seven charges involving SRC funds totalling RM42 million.
According to Yu, in December 2014, SRC International Sdn Bhd’s former chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil wrote to the bank to explain the source of the cash deposited into Najib's account.
"Nik did this as the financial institution was uncomfortable with the high volume of cash deposits made into three bank accounts ending 880, 898 and 906, belonging to Najib.
"The funds were from Datuk Seri's personal funds," she said.
Sithambaram: Were cash payments frequently made into his (Najib) account?
Yu: Yes when there were overdrawn and insufficient funds.
Sithambaram: Generally is cash payment allowed?
Yu: It is only allowed if it is genuinely overlooked. However it is not common and have to be reported to the relevant authorities.
Sithambaram: Report to who?
Yu: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) I guess, depending on their requirements.
Sithambaram: Who usually arranged cash payments into Najib's account?
Yu: Nik or Jho Low, but always deposited by a man named Tee Kok Keong
The witness said Jho Low was the former adviser to the board of directors of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
She said Najib did not have any overdraft facility and in the event of overdraft in his account, the bank would notify the mandate holder, Nik Faisal, or Jho Low if Nik Faisal could not be reached, and a cash deposit would be arranged.
During cross-examination by Najib's lawyer Harvinderjit Singh, the witness said the bank's then-group managing director Ashok Ramamurthy raised a red flag regarding Najib's account in regard to the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001.
This prompted her to suggest to Jho Low that the bank accounts should be closed.
She added, the large and frequent cash deposit overdrafts was also one of the reasons the accounts needed to be closed.
The trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.