KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) proceeding resumed with the cross-examination of the 13th witness, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail.
Defence Counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah started the cross-examination of former Non-Executive Director of 1MDB with matters related to the establishment of the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA).
Muhammad Shafee also asked about the presence of Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, who was already in TIA before the strategic investment company was renamed as 1MDB in 2009.
Ismee agreed with the defence that the idea of TIA came from the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, who was also the Sultan of Terengganu and not Najib. It was aimed to develop the economy of Terengganu.
Back then, the TIA was planning to develop the Bidong Island which used to house the Vietnamese refugees in the 70’s until 90’s into a tourism destination.
The witness also revealed that since his early acquaintance with Jho Low at the Terengganu Palace, the fugitive businessman loved to cite Najib’s name in everything that he did.
Today, Ismee also revealed that he never saw any cash from the issuance of the RM5 billion Islamic Medium Term Note (IMTN) bond flowing into the personal account of Najib, which was allegedly misappropriated by Jho Low amounting to US$113 million or over RM700 million.
TIA took a loan for the issuance of the RM5 billion IMTN bond. It allegedly made a loss after two companies made a secret profit from it as reported by The Edge. TIA obtained RM5 billion from the IMTN in 2009 and it was sold within 24 hours to Aktis Capital, Country Group Securities and Acme Time Pte Ltd.
It was then resold to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and insurance provider, Prudential.
Shafee then showed the article from The Edge on the business dealings of the two companies and questioned the witness if he knew about Najib’s involvement in the transactions and its profits.
SHAFEE: I want to ask you something important and serious. I truly appreciate if you can be as frank as possible. It would be better if you can provide details.
As of today, have you seen any money from the IMTN profit went into the personal Ambank account of Datuk Seri Najib?
Deputy Public Prosecutor, Mohamad Mustaffa Kunyalam rose in objection and stated that the report also mentioned how Najib and his stepson, Riza Aziz got the payment from certain quarter.
However, Muhammad Shafee said that the payment deposited into Najib’s account had nothing to do with the IMTN bond. On the contrary, the money deposited into his account was the donation from Saudi Arabia between February 2011 and August 2013.
Meanwhile, Jho Low had started misappropriating the IMTN bond before 2008. Muhammad Shafee alleged, some transactions were also deposited into the then Governor of Bank Negara, Tan Sri Zeti Aktar Aziz’s family’s account.
“Jho Low paid bribery to Zeti’s family between 2008 and 2009. This was reported in the investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“We, the defence, want to prove that the alleged 1MDB monies were deposited into our client’s personal account to the extent that he is charged for 25 counts of money-laundering charges came from Saudi Arabia donation and not the IMTN bond.
“Najib’s personal Ambank account was said to have received billions of ringgit. It was only opened in 2011 and had no relation with the IMTN bond,” he alleged.
Najib, the Member of Parliament of Pekan is facing 25 counts of money-laundering and criminal breach of trust charges amounting to RM2.3 billion at the High Court. -MalaysiaGazette