Zeti to Shafee: ‘Show me evidence my husband received money belonging to 1MDB funds’
(NST) – The highly anticipated battle between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz concerning the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal, involved a fierce exchange between the two.
Najib’s counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, wasted no time in focusing his attention on issues relating to Zeti’s husband Datuk Tawfiq Ayman and their children who were allegedly involved in the global-scale controversy.
The former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor, who was not amused by Shafee’s line of questioning, responded in kind to the senior lawyer, prompting trial judge, Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah to intervene.
The drama started when Shafee asked whether Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) received any intelligence pertaining to certain transactions that became a discomfort to them, relating to Zeti’s family members.
Zeti responded that she had no knowledge about the transactions and further explained that her husband owned an asset management corporation, and he received money from investors abroad.
However, things escalated quickly when Shafee pressed on over the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation against Tawfiq and the latter’s statutory declaration (SD).
Zeti reiterated that none of her family members received money linked to 1MDB and revealed that Tawfiq himself, in a letter, had alerted the Singapore authorities about dubious funds that had flowed into his company’s account – Cutting Edge Industries Ltd.
Shafee, who was shocked, asked Zeti to produce the said letter to the court, but the latter replied in the negative as she did not have the letter as it is currently part of a police investigation.
Shafee: Do you know that the money your husband and children obtained through the company (Cutting Edge) is from 1MDB?
Zeti: I have no knowledge about the account, the money in it, or who the investor is. I have zero knowledge.
Shafee: Your husband or children have never informed you about the money…
Zeti: Show me the evidence. Show me the proof of the outgoing money flow (into Cutting Edge).
This prompted Sequerah to interject by questioning the relevance of Shafee’ questions to the charges faced by Najib.
Sequerah: How is this (the questions) relevant to the trial?
Shafee: We want to establish whether they received money from fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
Sequerah: I will allow to a certain point… it cannot be beyond that, or this can be considered as collateral attack.
Tawfiq was alleged to have received bribes as part of a deal so that Malaysia’s central bank would approve an “overnight” foreign exchange transfer of US$1 billion (RM4.9 billion) from 1MDB to PetroSaudi International (PSI) that Zeti was said to have greenlit.
He has denied accepting bribes from former employees of Goldman Sachs as reported in the ongoing US corruption trial of the investment bank’s former Malaysian head Roger Ng who has been linked to the misappropriation of funds from 1MDB.
MACC announced in November last year that Singapore had repatriated to Malaysia US$15.4 million in 1MDB-linked funds that involved a company co-owned by Tawfiq.
The trial continues.
MORE TO COME