KUALA LUMPUR – The high profile 1Malaysia Development (1MDB) trial which entered its 8th day saw witness, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin made a u-turn in his testimony.
Lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah continued to bombard Amhari, the former Special Officer to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the witness statement he made two weeks ago.
Among the questions were the witness’s allegations on the set-up of Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), which he earlier claimed was Najib’s idea and ‘baby’.
TIA was then renamed as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in September 2009.
However, today, Shafee Abdullah proved that it was not the idea or ‘baby’ of Najib, but on the other hand, was inspired by the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who is also the Sultan of Terengganu.
Amhari initially did not agree with the defence counsel but after being shown an attachment of the summary from a Cabinet Meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi, the former officer of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) went speechless and admitted to his mistake.
Amhari said that the ‘baby’ he mentioned in his witness statement was based on his personal assumption.
Shafee: What did you mean by ‘baby’ in your statement? Did you mean that TIA was set-up based on what Najib thought?
Amhari: Something created (and) inspired by someone. Something very close to a person. It is not necessary and idea but something very close to a person’s heart.
Shafee: So, what is the meaning of ’baby’?
Amhari: Something that a person tries to carry when he wants to be a PM. Bringing a policy or something close to that. That was what I meant.
Shafee: So, perhaps, it was not Najib’s idea?
Shafee: Then, why is that his ‘baby’?
Amhari: As a future PM, perhaps he wanted to carry that product along with him.
Shafee: Do you realised that the TIA was inspired by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who is also the Sultan of Terengganu? Do you know that?
Amhari: I do not know that, Your Honour.
Shafee: In that case, I would like to refer to your statement earlier. I would like you to take a look into the Cabinet Minister’s minutes of meeting. Please refer to page 1. Minutes of Meeting of the Cabinet Minister.
Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi cum Finance Minister, Finance Minister II Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yaakob, please refer to page 5, the content is not complete but you can see it. There is a special message by Tun Abdullah on setting-up TIA. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong proposed that it would be given an initial capital of RM10 billion.
Terengganu has received RM1.5 or RM1.3 billion every year?
Amhari: I know that Terengganu received RM1.5 billion of funds.
Shafee: It means that you know. There is strong evidence that the TIA/1MDB was not inspired, it is stated in page 7, the Cabinet Minister stated that the set-up was inspired by Agong as one day, the state may run out of oil. Please look at page 8 too, there is a guarantee by the government that RM5 billion will be given by the federal government.
There are many other details on the discussion on TIA. It was also chaired by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and there were certain regulations where only His Majesty could be the patron. From that paragraph alone you already know that Najib was not the one who decided on the appointment of TIA Chairman. This is important. The summary letter from the Cabinet.
The Terengganu government also publicised on the inception of TIA and it was reported by all media. So, you knew who inspired TIA? Did you not know?
Amhari: I didn’t know. I only know about it today.
Shafee: You realised right from the beginning that TIA was not Najib’s ‘baby’ but it was the idea from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Sultan of Terangganu? It is up to you if you want to deny it.
Amhari: I don’t agree.
Shafee: Stop dodging around. You knew that it was inspired by the Sultan of Terengganu. You knew that Jho Low was interested right from the beginning.
Amhari: I knew that Jho Low was interested right from the beginning, but I was not sure about the Sultan of Terengganu.
Shafee: In your witness statement, you said the otherwise.
Amhari: I only made summary based on my opinion.
Shafee: Looks like you were wrong. Moreover, with the documents I provided as evidence.
Amhari: Looks like it.
On 20 September 2018, Najib pleaded not guilty on the 21 money laundering and 4 power abuse charges slapped on him. He was charged for committing the offence during his tenure as the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Chairman of 1MDB Board of Advisors.
The proceedings resume before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah. – MalaysiaGazette