Zahid comes a-calling, banker admits topping up Najib’s account

The former Corporate Banking Officer at AmBank, who was also Najib's relationship manager, had earlier skirted around the issue when questioned by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former banker was today forced to admit that she had used her own money to top up Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank account to prevent his cheque from bouncing.

Joanna Yu Ging Ping admitted that she advanced RM55,000 into Najib’s AmBank account to cover the shortfall arising from a RM80,000 cheque he issued in September 2015.

The former Corporate Banking Officer at AmBank, who was also Najib’s relationship manager, had earlier skirted around the issue when questioned by lawyer Harvinderjit Singh.

However, she was forced to admit it when shown her Blackberry messenger chats with fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low, who has since been revealed to have close control of the former prime minister’s bank accounts.

The chats showed how Yu had desperately tried to get hold of Jho Low on that day due to insufficient funds in Najib’s accounts.

After being given the runaround by Jho Low, who was on a flight, and his secretary, a woman identified as Josie, Yu eventually decided to use her own money to top up Najib’s account.

The court heard that Jho Low repaid her the money the very next day.

Najib’s defence has tried to show that Jho Low had gone out of his way to ensure the former Finance Minister was kept in the dark about his account balances.

Jho Low, they said, had ensured AmBank never returned Najib’s cheques even though the latter’s accounts were always overdrawn to the tune of millions of ringgit, when cheques were issued or his credit cards used.

Another example of one such incident happened when Najib issued a RM5 million cheque to Umno even though his account only had RM1.2 million in it.

On that occassion, Jho Low also managed to arrange for money to be wired in.

Earlier, the court also heard how Jho Low had transferred 5.75 million sterling pounds (about RM30 million) into Najib’s account in 2014.

The money was transferred from a Jho Low linked company called Vista Equity Partners Ltd which is based in the Seychelles.

Jho Low, the court heard, had informed Yu to list the fund transfer as a gift for the then prime minister and Umno president.

Yu, who is the 54th prosecution witness, had previously testified that she was asked to leave AmBank in 2015 due to her involvement in Najib’s accounts.

However, she did not give details about the circumstances leading to her ouster from the bank due to confidentiality, non-disclosure agreement between both parties.

The proceedings today also saw Najib’s former deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dropping by to lend support to his former boss.

Zahid, who is Umno president, tapped Najib on the shoulder as the latter was sitting in the dock and exchanged greetings before taking a seat in the public gallery.

He stayed on for about 10 minutes before leaving.

Zahid himself had earlier attended his own court case where he is facing graft charges involving a foreign visa system.

Najib, 66, is facing six charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust.

He is accused of transferring RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd money into his own accounts.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister and finance minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from the Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP).

The Pekan member of parliament is accused of committing the offences at the AmIslamic Bank Bhd, Jalan Raja Chulan, and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.