KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The High Court today was told that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak did not say or do anything to dissociate himself from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or JhoLow.
Testifying under re-examination by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer (CEO) Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman said Najib had never issued any instruction not to comply with the instruction given by JhoLow in all matters related to 1MDB.
Sri Ram: When you had the meeting at the accused’s (Najib) house and Jho Low was present, what was your observation of the relationship between Jho Low and the accused?
Mohd Hazem: It was very, very close.
Sri Ram then asked the 49-year-old witness why he obeyed instructions from Jho Low, to which Mohd Hazem said all the instructions from Jho Low “came from Najib himself”.
Questioned further by Sri Ram on why would he follow instructions from Jho Low, the 10th prosecution witness said: ”Jho Low is basically the man of PM.”
Mohd Hazem also said that Jho Low’s role in 1MDB was concealed during meetings with accounting firm KPMG Malaysia to discuss the company’s audit because JhoLow himself had asked that his name not be revealed.
Further questioned about the removal of KPMG Malaysia as the strategic development company’s auditor, Mohd Hazem said the audit firm refused to sign off 1MDB’s financial year 2013 audit report and he received pressure, including from Najib himself, to ensure that the audit report was signed.
“I was called directly by him (Najib) asking me to find a way to solve this (signing off the audit report) and the only way to solve this is to replace KPMG with a new auditor.
“At the time, I was in no position to disobey Datuk Seri Najib as he was the prime minister,” said Mohd Hazem.
KPMG was appointed as 1MDB’s auditor for the financial years 2010, 2011, and 2012 but was sacked in 2013 after it refused to sign off 1MDB’s financial year 2013 accounts.
Mohd Hazem also said he did not receive a single cent from the purported misappropriated money from 1MDB funds nor was he given any monetary compensation by Jho Low for allegedly conspiring to siphon money from the company.
Najib, 68, is facing four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totaling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.
The trial before Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues tomorrow.