Najib trial: I was asked to leave AmBank, says former banker

Najib trial: I was asked to leave AmBank, says former banker

KUALA LUMPUR: The former banker who handled Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s AmBank accounts told the High Court here today that she was asked to leave the bank in 2015, believed due to her involvement with the former prime minister’s accounts.

Former AmBank Relationship Manager, Joanna Yu Ging Ping, also said that, at that time, AmBank was fined RM53.7 million by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for non-compliance involving its failure to report suspicious transactions.

The court had earlier heard a testimony that BNM had penalised Ambank on Nov 23, 2015, over its failure to report suspicious transactions in Najib’s accounts.

The 54th prosecution witness said this during cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh on the 42nd day of the trial of Najib, who is on trial for seven counts of misappropriation of SRC International Sdn Bhd (SRC) funds totalling RM42 million.

Harvinderjit: Do you know why they (the bank) were fined?

Yu: I only read about it in the papers, about non-compliance.

Harvinderjit: Did you leave or you were asked to leave?

Yu: I was asked to leave.

Harvinderjit: Was it because of your involvement with Najib’s accounts?

Yu: I believe so. They (AmBank) were put under a lot of pressure so I was asked to go.

Yu said her two other colleagues, bearing the same position, Daniel Lee, also left around the same time but Krystle Yap stayed for a while.

“During that time the team was much bigger, there were around eight people but Daniel and Krystle were handling the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and SRC accounts.

Between the three of them, Yu said she was the most senior.

The witness also denied being the liaison between fugitive businessman, Jho Low, and former SRC chief executive officer Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil (Nik Faisal).

Harvinderjit: Were you the liaison between Jho Low and Nik Faisal?

Yu: No. They contact each other, they don’t need me.

Harvinderjit: You also liaise the instructions between Jho Low and Nik Faisal?

Yu: No, I asked Nik Faisal for instruction because he was the account’s mandate holder

Harvinderjit: You took instruction from Jho Low and only went to Nik Faisal to formalise it into a written instruction?

Yu: Only written instruction so the bank can act on it.

Harvinderjit: Even the letters (instruction) to Nik Faisal was drafted by you?

Yu: Yes…to some of them. It was to help him to address overdrawn in Datuk Seri’s (Najib) accounts.

Yesterday, the witness testified Najib had given the sole mandate to Nik Faisal to handle his three Ambank current accounts, ending with 906; 898 and 880, all opened in 2013, which the bank can only act provided there was a written instruction to it.

Referring to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chat between Yu and former Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M) chief executive officer Ung Su Ling (Ung), Harvinderjit questioned the witness whether she had seen Jho Low instructing Ung to move cash to Najib’s accounts.

Harvinderjit: You were involved in the group chat where Ung received instruction from Jho Low?

Yu: We were just arranging it for the bank.

Harvinderjit: Jho Low told Ung he needed RM2.5 billion cash from YR1M?

Yu: I can’t remember who but I know someone stating they need the cash for corporate social responsibility (CSR) purposes.

The trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues tomorrow.