AmBank former managing director Cheah Tek Kuang arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court October 11, 2022. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Low Taek Jho, who is better known as Jho Low and wanted in Malaysia over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, was the one who had made the introductions to then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the former group managing director of AmBank told the High Court today.
Cheah Tek Kuang said this while testifying as the 39th prosecution witness in Najib’s trial over the misappropriation of RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds.
Asked by 1MDB trial’s lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram about his visit in early 2011 to Najib’s house to help the latter “VVIP” open a personal account with AmIslamic Bank, Cheah confirmed that Low was present at the place.
This was the personal bank account Najib had opened with the expectation of receiving US$100 million in purported donations from Saudi Arabia.
Sri Ram: You were asked a number of questions and you said Jho Low was there. I didn’t understand you, can you explain to His Lordship, when you arrived, was Jho Low already there?
Cheah: No, he is in a different car, so when I walked to the house, ok, he introduced me to Datuk Seri Najib.
Sri Ram: He was the one who introduced you to Datuk Seri Najib?
Cheah confirmed that Low had gone to another room in Najib’s house after making the introductions, and said other people were following Low.
Asked by Sri Ram over his remark that he was “quite nervous”, Cheah said he felt uncomfortable meeting a “VIP”.
Cheah confirmed that he left Najib’s house once the latter had signed the account opening forms and related papers, and said he did not know where Low was at that time but presumed he was in the house.
Cheah confirmed that Low did not accompany him.
Previously, Cheah said he was asked by AmBank’s then relationship manager Joanna Yu and its then group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim to help meet Najib to get the latter’s signature on bank documents for the opening of the new bank account.
Cheah said he had never dealt with Najib before the account opening procedures, and that Najib’s then principal private secretary Datuk Azlin Alias sent a driver to take him to Najib’s house.
Cheah also previously said that he and the driver were the only ones in the car, while there were other cars — including one carrying Low — in the same convoy headed to Najib’s house.
Cheah previously confirmed that he met Najib alone to set up the latter’s bank account. Cheah had also said that he and Low did not speak to each other during that visit.
Najib today wore a dark blue suit with a dark blue tie and light blue shirt, while his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and his daughter Nooryana Najwa were spotted in the courtroom.
The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes this afternoon.
On the first day of trial, the prosecution said it would prove that RM2,282,937,678.41 or over RM2.28 billion of 1MDB funds had entered Najib’s personal bank accounts from the 1MDB scheme, including via companies allegedly linked to Low’s associate Eric Tan.
But Najib’s lawyers have been seeking to push forward the defence that the funds which entered his personal accounts were allegedly donations from Saudi’s royal family.
MORE TO COME