Malaysia — The former chief executive officer of scandal-rocked Malaysian strategic development company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) said that the real power in directing the company lay with businessman Low Taek Jho, who has been at large for the past few years.
Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, who was 1MDB’s CEO, claimed to have been “led by the nose” by the businessman popularly known as Jho Low, and that Low’s instructions were tantamount to those coming from then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This went on despite Low not having any official designation within 1MDB, Mohd Hazem said, adding that the businessman would be present at meetings with the former Prime Minister at his home.
Mohd Hazem made these statements in court on Tuesday (Aug 17), when he testified at Najib’s trial involving billions in funds from the company.
The Malay Mail reported he also said that Terence Geh and Jasmine Loo, the company’s senior management officials, while supposedly under his supervision, were ultimately loyal to Jho Low.
Geh and Loo acted upon instructions from Low, he said, which Mohd Hazem did not correct because to him, the businessman and the Prime Minister were equated together.
And Low’s instructions for 1MDB were not always for the benefit of the company.
The former CEO told Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, during a cross examination that Geh and Loo “are the people of Jho Low, and Jho Low basically is the prime minister.”
Mohd Hazem also said that then 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin shared the same concerns over the businessman.
Upon further questioning from the lawyer, Mohd Hazem said that he had not, in effect, been the CEO of 1MDB, and that “in a way” Low had run 1MDB through its management.
Najib’s trial was supposed to continue on Wednesday (Aug 18) but was cut short as he needed to attend a meeting regarding Malaysia’s new prime minister along with other political leaders.
Najib still is part of Malaysia’s parliament, having been an MP since 1986.
Mr Shafee had requested from High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah for the former Prime Minister to be excused from court to go to an 11:00 am meeting.
“They are meeting to decide who would be new prime minister, a very critical meeting, because it is coming to a close, finale. So my client, he is adviser to BN, his attendance together with Datuk Seri Zahid and Ismail Sabri is compulsory together with the rest of party leaders that have to attend and make a decision today, and decide on certain name to be submitted for purposes of selection,” Mr Shafee told the court. /TISG
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