KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin was seen to be ‘trapped’ during the cross-examination by the defence counsel when he was asked about fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low during the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial today.
The trial on 1MDB scandal involving funds amounting RM2.3 billion implicating former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has entered its 6th day of proceeding today.
Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who leads the defence team bombarded the eight witness on his relationship with Jho Low as they seemed to know each other way earlier than the witness said.
Shafee also tried to link that the position Amhari held, as the special officer of Najib, was a suggestion from Jho Low and Amhari was very interested to be the then Prime Minister’s special aide right from the beginning.
However, Amhari denied the claims. Nevertheless, he had to disclose that he contacted Datuk Wan Ahmad Shihab Ismail Wan Ismail about the vacancy of special officer after being asked many times by Shafee.
Shafee initially asked if Wan Ahmad and the witness studied at the same school and if Amhari contacted the then special aide of Najib, to which, the witness said, he did not agree.
However, moments later, Amhari voluntarily admitted that he knew Wan Ahmad through Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and he contacted the latter and to ask about the availability of vacancy on that post.
Shafee: Then, what I said was right. You contacted Wan Ahmad and expressed your interest in working as the special officer to Najib?
Amhari: Let me help you by explaining about this, ok?
Shafee: You cannot help me but you certainly can provide explanations on my suggestion.
Amhari: I was truly interested to work for Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Therefore, I tried for the position as a special officer, but I failed. I contacted Wan Ahmad about that but he told me that there was no vacancy.
Shafee: So, you seek Wan Ahmad for this position and not the other way round? \
Amhari: Yes. You’re right.
Earlier, Shafee Abdullah also suggested that Amhari and Jho Low are very ambitious and knew each other way earlier, however, the witness did not agree with that suggestion.
Shafee also asked if Jho Low used his ‘power’ to get Amhari his post as the special officer which could be among the reasons how Amhari knew about the appointment before an official announcement was made.
Amhari did not agree with that statement but he did not provide any further explanation.
Amhari also told the court that he did not know that it is an offence not to declare the US$200,000 (RM808,000) borrowed from Jho Low for the purpose of purchasing a house in Kota Damansara.
The trial continues before High Court Judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah. –MalaysiaGazette