Umno leader: RM50,000 cheque from Najib kept off the books

Ida Lim
Padang Serai Umno division chief Asmadi Abu Talib at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — A RM50,000 cheque that Padang Serai Umno received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not recorded in the division’s accounts, the party division’s leader told the High Court today.

Padang Serai Umno division chief Datuk Asmadi Abu Talib, 50, told the court that he had a meeting with Najib at Umno’s office at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

Asmadi said he had met Najib as a sign of respect as the latter was then Umno president, as well as to share his division’s plans for the 14th general election.

“Datuk Seri Najib gave me encouragement and he handed over a contribution to help the division in the party’s planning,” Asmadi told deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi.

Asmadi said Najib personally gave him a RM50,000 cheque made out to his name, which he then banked in to his Maybank account.

Asmadi is the ninth prosecution witness in Najib’s money laundering and criminal breach of trust trial over RM42 million of former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) unit SRC International Sdn Bhd.

During cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Asmadi confirmed that the RM50,000 was not “recognised” in Padang Serai Umno’s accounts.

“It’s not recognised in Padang Serai Umno accounts, because if we said it, we will face problems in the annual general meeting, but the funds are known to the Padang Serai division’s committee members,” he said.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex April 22, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Later, when re-examined by Saifuddin, Asmadi confirmed that Padang Serai Umno had an official bank account, and explained why Najib had made out the cheque to Asmadi’s account.

“If it is deposited into the Umno division’s account, it will involve the annual general meeting, but not if it is to my account,” he said.

“If it’s annual general meeting, there needs to be [an] auditor, external auditor,” he added.

Among other things, Asmadi said the RM50,000 funds from the cheque was used to pay for Padang Serai division’s activities, including for religious activities, after school classes for students, and to assist the sick and victims of natural disasters.

Asmadi is among 15 recipients of cheques totalling over RM10.77 million that were issued under two AmIslamic Bank accounts that were registered under Najib’s name, based on court documents produced in court today and previously.

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