LIVE: AmBank manager grilled by Najib’s lawyer on mismatched signatures

Bede Hong Yvonne Lim Ravin Palanisamy

Najib Razak arriving at the Kuala Lumpur High Court today. The former prime minister faces multiple counts of corruption and money-laundering in relation to funds from 1MDB unit, SRC International. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, April 25, 2019.

NAJIB Razak’s SRC International trial enters its ninth day today, with the 21st witness – AmBank manager R. Uma Devi – returning to the stand. 

She will continue to read out her 42-page written statement, after which she will be cross-examined by defence lawyers led by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Yesterday, Uma testified that the former prime minister opened and closed five accounts with AmBank’s Jalan Raja Chulan branch in Kuala Lumpur, between January 13, 2011 and March 9, 2015. 

Najib also authorised former SRC International director and CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil to handle five of his accounts, two of which were not related to the criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money-laundering charges.

The two accounts were opened in 2011 and closed in August 2013. 

Three new bank accounts were opened in July 2013 and closed by March 2015.

In one of these accounts, a total of RM64 million was deposited – RM27 million on July 8, RM27 million on December 26, 2014 – and RM10 million on February 10, 2015. 

Uma’s testimony also revealed that RM3.28 million was transferred from Najib’s account to pay two credit card bills.

On request of the defence, the court yesterday ordered that Affin Bank processing officer Rosaiah Rosli reproduce further evidence to show to where a bank transfer of RM8 million, allegedly from SRC International Sdn Bhd, went.

Najib is facing three counts of CBT, three counts of money-laundering and one count of abuse of power over funds amounting to RM42 million linked to SRC International.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is presiding over the trial.

The Malaysian Insight brings you today’s proceedings live:

5.35pm: Shafee requests for the proceedings to be postponed to Monday, saying that he has some matters involving Samirah Muzaffar tomorrow.

The lawyer promises to provide dates to replace all the Fridays they have skipped. Proceedings were postponed last Friday as well, as Shafee had another matter to attend to.

“Sitham and I will provide the dates for replacement for all the Friday we’ve missed.

“It’s a good idea for the witness to have a break tomorrow as well,” Shafee said.

“I have not given up on those dates,” the judge says, adding that he expects to hear back on those dates.

Proceedings will continue on Monday, 9.30am.

Court is adjourned.

5.20pm: Pointing to a copy which looks identical to another document, Harvinderjit says it was almost as if someone had cut and pasted the signature.

Uma: For bankers, as long as the signatures match, the transaction will be processed.

She adds that she really cannot comment on the difference in signatures.

5.10pm: Harvinderjit is still questioning Uma about mismatched signatures on hard and digital soft copies of instruction letters from SRC International to AmBank.

Harvinderjit says there are vast differences in the signatures.

Harvinderjit: Come on ma’am. You can spot the difference by just seeing it.

Uma: I don’t know.

He then continues quizzing Uma.

4.30pm: Harvinderjit has been grilling Uma about the digital and paper documentation process that comes with transactions. Referring to the December 24, 2014 transaction where RM5 million was transferred from SRC to Ihsan Perdana, Harvinderjit says that former SRC director Suboh Yassin’s signature on the hard copy of that statement was much bigger than the email soft copy which was sent two months later, on February 13, 2015.

Harvinderjit says this system allows for the exploitation of a “legitimate loophole”, and asks Uma if she agrees.

Uma seems nervous and replies softly. Referring to her as “my dear”, Harvinderjit tells her not to be scared.

The AmBank branch manager, which is the prosecution’s 21st witness, has been on the witness stand for over six hours now, starting from 9am this morning. Yesterday, she was on the stand for four hours.

3.20pm: Harvinderjit: SRC has any other account?

Uma: They have one foreign currency account.

Uma says there were multiple meetings with MACC after the raid. She also confirms that she was only called by police for investigation last year.

Former prime minister Najib Razak returns to the high court after a lunch recess during his trial involving SRC International funds at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, April 25, 2019.

3.15pm: Harvinderjit asks Uma when was the last time she looked at her copy of the documents. She says she looked at it recently, when she had to refer to them for her witness statement.

Harvinderjit asks whether the documents were not covered during the oral discussion with the prosecution.

She says it was not scrutinised, only brief details were brought up during the oral discussion such as, “did you sign here”.

3pm: Uma confirms that the request for documents was based on transaction specifics, including specific dates and amounts. She also agrees when Harvinderjit says that account numbers are not mentioned in transaction documents.

2.55pm: Harvinderjit asks Uma whether Krystle Yap, Joanna Yu and Daniel Lee are still with AmBank. Uma says that they are no longer working there.

Harvinderjit: Is Krystle Yap and Joanna Yu still with AmBank?

Uma: Nope. They have left.

Harvinderjit: You know why they left?

Uma: No. I don’t liaise with them

Harvinderjit: What about Daniel Lee?

Uma: Daniel lee also left.

Harvinderjit: When?

Uma: Long time ago.

2.45pm: Harvinderjit questions Uma if she was asked to produce emails sent by former SRC director See Yok Peng to relationship manager Krystle Yap. Uma replies no.

Harvinderjit says the email trails starts from December 24, 2014, 10.47am. Yok Peng emailed Krystle Yap and CC’ed to Terence Geh and Daniel Lee.

2.25pm: Court resumes. Uma continues her testimony and Harvinderjit continues cross-examination.

1pm: Court breaks for lunch.

12.45pm: The raiding officers (some from MACC and others from Bank Negara) wanted to seize the original copies of the documents, so Uma made three copies of the entire folder for the bank’s reference.

Harvinderjit: The only other time you saw the original copies was when the prosecution showed to you?

Uma: Yes, only recently.

12.30pm: Uma is asked if she could recall what the officers in the raid were looking for.

Uma: SRC, Gandingan Mentari, Najib’s account, Yayasan Gemilang, 1MDB

Harvinderjit: Did they ask for the account numbers or under certain names?

Uma: They would ask for all the accounts under a certain name

Harvinderjit: Did he read from a list?

Uma: I can’t recall

Harvinderjit: How long did it take you to retrieve?

Uma: About an hour, maybe less.

She said by 10am, she had retrieved almost all of the documents requested. She added when the raiding officers came, they introduced themselves as some from MACC and some from Bank Negara.

AmBank manager R. Uma Devi is the 21st witness in the Najib Razak trial and is outlining what happened to the former prime minister’s five accounts there. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, April 25, 2019.

12.25pm: Harvinderjit asks when was she first made aware that the agencies were looking at certain accounts.

Uma: When I first became branch manager, I knew that they were investigating, but I don’t know what specifically.

Jayakumar (Uma’s predecessor) was on MC on my first day – so the handing over was done days later. He told me that I needed to take over to handle this.

The assistant branch manager was aiding the 1MDB investigation at that point.

Harvinderjit: Who did you meet on July 6?

Uma: I remember Azizul. The rest I can’t really remember. There was a group of them that came. About 11 of them who came when they first walked in.

I just had my morning briefing. Just opened the branch at 9am. I wanted to go into my room, then they came. They were waiting in the lobby and asked to see the branch manager.

I remember one of them was Azizul. He wasn’t the main person, there were other people.

12.20pm: Harvinderjit asks Uma if she had to retrieve accounts for individuals apart from Najib.

Uma: Yes, we have on and off. It’ll come through compliance department, they’ll send the instruction.

Harvinderjit: Have you been asked to retrieve statements for Low Teck Jho?

Uma: I was asked to check if he has an account yes, but I think he doesn’t have any records with Raja Chulan Branch.

12.14pm: Uma said she never met Najib, Nik Faisal nor Suboh Md Yassin.

12.11pm: Uma said she joined AmBank in 2012 as manager. Prior to this she was with EON Bank (2009-2012); Royal Bank of Scotland (2008-2009) and OCBC (2004-2008).

11.35am: Uma said she made changes to the witness statement on numbers and also some typos. Harvinderjit asks to see the changes.

Sithambaram objects, saying that no statements that have been signed can be shown in court. It’s a draft. It cannot be shown as evidence.

11.30am: Uma said after checking the witness statement provided by the prosecution but that she did not bring the document home as it was “highly confidential” and she was afraid that she might misplace it.

11.30am: Harvinderjit grills Uma now.

He asks her if she was aware of what the second witness Azizul told the court? Uma said she read it in the news.

Harvinderjit then asks if Uma is aware that what Azizul told the court was not the same as what she is telling the court? Uma said yes.

Azizul was the Bank Negara officer who led the raid on AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015. Azizul told the court that he was not given specific names to request for documents during the raid, only account numbers.

11.22am: Uma’s statement shows that RM4 billion was transferred from SRC International through Gandigan Mentari in March 2012 and RM37 million was transferred to Najib’s personal accounts between 2014-2015.

11am: Referring to the other SRC International account records (there are two), Uma said on November 30, 2011, there was a credit transfer of RM500 million.

On March 28, 2012, there was a credit transfer of RM2 billion.

Two days later, there was a debit transfer of RM2 billion.

10.57am: Uma confirms that Nik Faisal was given the mandate by Najib to issue credit and transfer instructions in relation to the latter’s three AmPrivate accounts.

10.45am: V. Sithambaram asks Uma if as branch manager, she is aware of any notification from Najib on errors, discrepancy, irregularities, unauthorised withdrawals, fraudulent transactions.

Uma: To my knowledge, based on the records I had, no.

Sithambaram: Any complaint by Najib as to how these three accounts are managed?

Uma: No.

10.25am: Uma said RM5 million was debited twice – once on February 5, 2015 and the next day.

Then looking at Gandingan Mentari accounts, Uma said the same amount was credited into its account on the same dates.

10.20am: Reading from an SRC International account transaction records, Uma said it showed four credits and three debits.

The records show that RM500 million was credited four times – totalling RM2 billion.

The three debit entries show two debits amounting to RM500 million and one debit amounting to RM1 billion, totalling RM2 billion.

10.06am: Uma reads out a transaction and confirms an RM5 million transaction on December 29, 2014 from an AmPrivate account ending with 906 to Putra Perdana via a Maybank account ending with 186.

10.04am: DPP asks how daily transactions are filed. Uma replied that transactions for the day are filed based on category such as remittances, RENTAS transactions. The files are kept at the branch under dual custody.

9.55am: DPP shows Uma some documents and while questioning her makes references to what another witness said previously.

Harvinderjit Singh interjects saying that you can’t refer to what another witness says while questioning one.

DPP then asks Uma what happened on July 6, 2015. Uma replies that the bank staff retrieved information on the files on the accounts held by customers that the BNM officers requested for.

DPP asks what files were passed. She said she can’t remember clearly but did sign an acknowledgment letter from a Bank Negara officer, signed as Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar.

9.48am: Uma clarifies that “it wasn’t so much of a raid”, adding that Bank Negara officers came to the branch and asked for the branch manager. She brought them to the 29th floor.

Suhaimi asks if the officers asked for any particular document. Uma replies that they requested for account opening documents for some names they had given.

9.45am: Deputy public prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim asks Uma if she remembers where she was on the day of the central bank raid on July 6, 2015.

She said she was at the bank branch in Jalan Raja Chulan.

9.43am: Uma signs the finalised amendments before the paragraphs are submitted as evidence.

9.40am: Uma makes amendments to the statement, correcting one transfer date from February 10, 2019 to February 10, 2015 and one transfer amount, from RM100,000 to RM1 million.

9.35am: Uma verifies that a cheque worth RM3.5 million was issued from Najib’s bank account to Hafarizam Wan Aisha Mubarak on January 21, 2015.

Another cheque worth RM103,351.17 was issued to SRC International corporate responsibility arm Ihsan Perdana on March 9, 2015.

9.13am: Najib, dressed in a blue suit, sits in the dock.

9.10am: Uma takes the stand and reads her statement.

8.58am: Najib arrives. – April 25, 2019.

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    Posted 5 years ago by Watchdog Watchdog · Reply

  • we all know that the size of font is prone to change visually when sent via email...... silly conjecture

    Posted 5 years ago by The Rover · Reply