KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak had paid tens of thousands in cash for the expenses for his former aide’s two secretive trips in 2016 to China and Abu Dhabi related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue, the High Court heard today.
In Najib’s ongoing corruption trial over 1MDB funds, his former special officer Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin revealed that he was sent out alone as Najib’s special envoy without Wisma Putra or the Foreign Ministry being informed.
Amhari today confirmed that Najib had personally reimbursed him for the expenses that he had spent for the trips to China and Abu Dhabi.
“Was passed to me by cash at his house,” Amhari told the court today when asked by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.
“I can’t remember, berpuluh ribu (tens of thousand),” Amhari added when asked about the amount of cash that Najib had given him for the trips.
Amhari confirmed that it was not normal to claim for expenses from Najib, as claims for official work would usually be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Department.
When asked why he had not submitted claims for expenses for the two 2016 trips to the Prime Minister’s Department, Amhari replied: “Because it’s a secret mission, private visit that Datuk Seri Najib asked me to do.”
Amhari confirmed he had personally received instructions from Najib at his house in a brief meeting of 15 to 30 minutes to go to China, but said he did not contact Malaysia’s embassy in China when he went to the country.
When Sri Ram asked why Wisma Putra was not contacted, Amhari said: “Because I followed the instructions given to me that it was a private visit and was instructions from Datuk Seri Najib.”
The China visit in June 2016 was for a meeting between Amhari as Najib’s special envoy and senior Chinese officials managing China’s government-linked companies on mega projects in Malaysia, with Amhari saying that businessman Low Taek Jho had arranged and joined the meeting.
The talking points provided by Low to Amhari for the China meeting mentioned the mega projects to be offered for China’s state-owned entreprises to participate in key multibillion infrastructure and development projects “while simultaneously completely resolving 1MDB and SRC debts”, which Amhari told the court said he believed was a bid to “bailout” 1MDB.
For the Abu Dhabi trip also in 2016, Amhari said he had received instructions from Najib to go for this meeting, which involved an attempt to avoid a dispute between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) from being taken for international arbitration.
Amhari said he had similarly not contacted Malaysia’s embassy in Abu Dhabi when he went there, saying: “I didn’t. I take this as a special mission that Datuk Seri Najib asked me to do.”
Today was the 10th day of Najib’s ongoing 1MDB trial involves 25 criminal charges - four counts of abusing his position for his own financial benefit totalling almost RM2.3 billion allegedly originating from 1MDB and the resulting 21 counts of money-laundering.
The trial before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes next Monday.
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