30 April 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: A close adviser to Najib Razak today told the High Court that he received RM2.5 million from the former prime minister for intelligence and political purposes.
Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah said the money was used to pay for intelligence gathering for Barisan Nasional.
“I used the money to gather intelligence and establish goodwill among the political parties,” said Habibul Rahman, testifying as the 23rd prosecution witness in Najib’s money laundering and criminal breach of trust trial.
Last week, a prosecution witness, lawyer Ashraf Abdul Razak, a former partner at the law firm of Zulqarnain & Co, said Habibul had given him the RM2.5 million cheque dated Feb 2, 2015, as the latter was one of the firm’s clients.
Ashraf had said Habibul paid the money for his services from a defence contract given to the businessman.
Cross examined by Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Habibul said Ashraf’s testimony was incorrect as he was never paid for any defence work.
“I am not involved in any form of defence contract because I will have to declare it as my income,” he said.
Habibul said he never asked Najib what was his source of money when he collected the RM2.5 million cheque.
“No, but it should be political donation. If you are prime minister, everyone wants to give money to operate, including Umno,” he said to a further question by Shafee.
Multi-million ringgit cheques caused overdraft
9.50am – Witness AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi (below, right) confirms that there was a series of rapid transactions that caused AmBank accounts ending with 880, 906 and 898 to go into overdraft over the 2014 period.
However, further transactions regularised these accounts.
10.35am – AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager R Uma Devi agrees with the defence on the unusual nature of transactions involving money going in and out of the three AmBank accounts that went from overdraft to being regularised again.
During cross-examination by defence counsel Harvinderjit Singh, the witness adds that these types of transactions, in which overdrafts of the accounts are triggered and later regularised by further transactions, may indicate the person involved knows money will be coming in to settle the overdrafts.
Harvinderjit: Do you agree that the operation of these three accounts was unusual in that cheques were issued from points of time when the accounts balance did not have enough to cover (the cheques)? Can we infer the person issuing the cheques did so with no specific knowledge of the accounts’ balance?
Uma Devi: Either that, or they know already that got (money) coming soon (to cover the overdraft in the accounts). We have customers who do that in regard to their accounts.
No cause for alarm found, says AmBank manager
11am – Witness R Uma Devi confirms she did not find anything untoward concerning transactions involving AmBank accounts related to former premier Najib Abdul Razak which would have necessitated raising the alarm.
During cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (photo), the AmBank Raja Chulan branch manager says that she found nothing untoward in the bank documents.
Uma Devi testifies that it is the duty of the bank’s officer who carries out transactions for customers to verify signatures on cheques and instruction letters.
She also tells the court that it is standard procedure not to proceed with a transaction if they found an obvious mismatch with the signature specimen in their database.
The bank will then inform the customer that they cannot proceed with the transaction due to the signature mismatch, she adds.
Uma Devi also testifies that, according to available documents, the bank had not conducted any inquiry based on the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amlatfa) into any of the transactions involving accounts related to Najib.
Shafee: How much funds would (be needed to) trigger inquiry?
Uma Devi: Usually more than RM50,000, banks would consider.
Shafee: (The purpose of the inquiry is) to find out the sources?
Uma Devi: The purpose and the source of funds, yes.
Shafee: Looking at all documents, you came across nothing untoward in relation to this case and matters you testified on various accounts related to Najib? You have not found documents that raise the alarm pertaining to sources of funds or suspected in any way?
Uma Devi: There was none in the records.
The bank manager later testifies that all transactions involving funds amounting to RM10,000 and above which are transferred to or from overseas would need to be declared to Bank Negara.
She says the system, which had been in place before 2013, requires the customer to state, among others, the purpose of moving the funds.
Uma Devi testifies that the bank would then need a consent letter from Bank Negara, without which they would not perform the transaction.
When Shafee asks whether she knows more about alleged transfers from Saudi Arabia’s Finance Ministry and Prince Faisal bin Turki into Najib’s accounts, Uma Devi says that only remittance officers of the bank would have such knowledge.