Jho Low never punctual for meetings, ex-banker tells Najib’s SRC trial

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

Cheah described Jho Low as a ‘perpetual’ latecomer under questioning from Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Runaway financier Low Taek Jho ― better known as Jho Low ― was always late for meetings even when scheduled in advance, Cheah Tek Kuang testified in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd trial today.

The prosecution’s 51st prosecution witness, the former AmBank managing director, described the Penang-born as a “perpetual” latecomer under questioning from Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

Cheah added that Low’s repeated tardiness was the reason he did not socialise with the man.

“He is a person who is never punctual on time [sic], if there was a meeting scheduled at 12pm, he would normally show up at 1.20 or 1.30pm,” said Cheah.

Harvinderjit: So, would you say he is unpredictable?

Cheah: No, I wouldn’t say he is unpredictable, it is perpetual.

Harvinderjit: Then would you say he is a liar?

Cheah: I wouldn’t say he is a liar, but this sort of attitude, I don’t like it and I detest it. That is why I cannot get close to that type of person.

The topic of Cheah’s past communications with Low and his opinion of the runaway businessman was raised when Harvinderjit was going through the logs of chats between Cheah and AmBank relationship manager Joanna You Ging Ping, and of those purportedly between Yu and Cheah.

Yesterday, Cheah testified that he met Low at Najib’s house in Jalan Langgak Duta when the then prime minister showed interest in opening a savings and current account with AmBank in January 2011.

Cheah said he met Low for the first time at a luncheon several years ago.

Cheah later denied allegations of him receiving two iPhones courtesy of Low back in 2013, saying he did not need gifts from anyone and could afford to buy it himself. 

This, however, was despite several chat logs between Joanna and someone believed to be Low, making references to the two iPhones meant as gifts from Low for Cheah. 

“It did not happen, I never collected the phones.; I don’t remember having them, as I told you, I don’t need the phones.

“No, why are you suggesting that,” he answered Harvinderjit when the lawyer suggested Cheah had previously received gifts from Low as well. 

The former prime minister is on trial for seven charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money-laundering involving RM42 million funds belonging to SRC International.

During the course of the trial, witnesses have testified that Retirement Fund (Incorporated) granted a total of RM4 billion in loans in August 2011 and March 2012 to SRC International, with money allegedly flowing through other companies before being transferred into Najib’s accounts.

At the time of the first loan application, SRC International was the wholly-owned subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad which was owned by Ministry of Finance’s Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc); while SRC International was parked directly under MoF Inc by the time of the second loan application.

The hearing before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes on Monday. 

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