SRC Trial: Former AmBank banker denies conspiring with Jho Low to carry out fraudulent transactions with Najib’s accounts

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Former AmBank relationship manager Joanna Yu Ging Ping is seen at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex July 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — A former AmBank banker today denied allegations that she was a rogue banker or that she conspired with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho to carry out fraudulent transactions involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts.

Joanna Yu Ging Ping, the former relationship manager for Najib’s personal bank accounts with AmBank, denied that she was in cahoots with Low, also known as Jho Low, to see through unauthorised transactions involving these three accounts registered under the bank.

Yu, the prosecution’s 54th witness in Najib’s RM42 Million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial, told ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram all actions she had taken regarding Najib’s personal bank accounts were to address issues of it being overdrawn and nothing more.

Sithambaram: Did you out act of conspiracy with Jho Low to carry out unauthorised or fraudulent transactions when you were the relationship manager of these accounts?

Yu: No.

Sithambaram: You may know, we also heard allegations that you are a rogue banker, acting in concert with Jho Low that resulted in the present charges against the accused.

Yu: We didn’t act on anything, there is no conspiracy. Whenever the account was overdrawn, we contacted the person mandated by the account holder... we just notified them, otherwise the cheque would be dishonoured concerning Datuk Seri Najib’s accounts which would not be good. That was all we did.

Yu had during her testimony explained how Najib’s personal bank accounts were controlled by mandated nominee Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, whose approval would be required before any transactions were carried out.

However, she did testify that in the event that Nik Faisal was unreachable, Jho Low was the alternative contact person to verify instructions and notify the account holder of AmBank’s issues, usually concerning overdraft issues.

Yu had also testified that it was Low who would regularly enquire about the account balance more than Nik Faisal, saying the close relationship the duo had with Najib led her to believe she would able to obtain a quick response from Low if Nik Faisal was unavailable.

This was revealed today when prosecutors went through several Blackberry Messenger (BBM) chat logs obtained from Yu’s previously confiscated smartphone.

Among the chats read out in court were her one-to-one communication with Low, along with her BBM thread chats with Nik Faisal.

Allegations of Yu being a rogue banker surfaced in April and were brought forward by Najib’s lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who claimed she could be in conspiracy with the runaway financier.

Shafee had claimed that the BBM conversations between Yu and Low would prove that Najib was a victim of conspiracy by Low and his “gang.”

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, is currently on trial for alleged abuse of position, money-laundering and criminal breach of trust over RM42 million of funds from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The trial before High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali resumes tomorrow.

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