KUALA LUMPUR: A key witness in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) trial denied trying to implicate Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the scandal and being in cahoots with fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.
During a fast-paced moment during a cross-examination yesterday, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah grilled Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, 43, for being inconsistent with his testimony.
Shafee: You are inconsistent because you are not telling the truth and fabricating the evidence. That’s how you want to implicate Najib. By saying Low’s instructions were Najib’s instructions.
Amhari: I disagree.
Shafee: When in fact you work hand-in-hand with Low. That is why you were rewarded with US$1mil (RM4.17mil); US$200,000 (RM834,929) in an unpaid loan and US$800,000 (RM3.4mil) in your bank account.
Amhari: I disagree.
(The court had earlier heard testimonies that Amhari was shocked when he was informed by his bank of some US$800,000 in his bank account and that he took a US$200,000 loan from Low).
Earlier, the cross-examination turned into a language class when the defence counsel grilled the witness on his choice of words in his 77-page statement.
Shafee asked Amhari to clarify his sentence where he said “dia arahkan kami dari Pejabat Perdana Menteri” (he ordered us from the Prime Minister’s Office).
Shafee: Are you saying Low gave his orders while sitting somewhere in the PMO?
Amhari: No, I meant we were from PMO. I meant Azlin and I were from PMO.
Shafee: But you don’t know where he gave his orders. That statement is quite confusing.
The prominent lawyer then questioned the word “pencatur” that was used.
Shafee: Can you tell the court what it means? It can mean different things.
Amhari: In this context, “pencatur” is a person who plans and arranges a matter, also sometimes involves strategy.
Shafee then pointed out Amhari’s “inconsistencies” in his statement and reread the witness statement.
In a paragraph, Amhari had said (the late Datuk Seri) Azlin (Alias) and he would “mostly check Low’s instructions with Najib”.
“You gave the impression that most times, you and Azlin would check with Najib. But in paragraph 25, you said the reverse.
“You said that only on occasion or if necessary would you and Azlin check. You’re inconsistent, I’m putting it to you, ” Shafee said.
Amhari disagreed with the suggestion.
“If you were to put it that way, I can see where you’re coming from. But the nature of checking with the prime minister, it’s not so rigid, ” he said.
The witness continued to explain that whether he or Azlin would check with Najib depended on the subject matter.
If it was about Najib’s social media, Amhari said he would only occasionally check because that was considered a light matter.
“But if it was a sensitive matter, then I would certainly double check most times. It depends on the issue and whether Najib was in the country or abroad. As a special officer, I try not to disturb him.
“Maybe my explanation seemed inconsistent, I can accept your argument, ” Amhari added.