Amhari as an ex Bank Negara staff ‘unaware’ transactions had to be declared

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Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin, who previously worked at Bank Negara, has said he did not know that an influx of money from abroad into a local bank would be flagged by the central bank.

The former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was also a Bank Negara scholar, said he was not aware of the regulation when asked by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Shafee was questioning Amhari on a US$200,000 unpaid loan he received from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

The money was wired into Amhari’s Maybank current account on April 5,2011.

He said Bank Negara did not query him on the transaction but Maybank made a call to him.

Shafee: (After the call) Then you would have to fill in a form (to declare the transaction).

Amhari: No, I didn’t. I told them over the phone. I said it was a bridging loan to pay for my current housing.

Shafee: Do you know that a huge amount of money from abroad would be flagged?

Amhari: No.

Shafee: Are you aware not getting a clearance for the money is an offence?

Amhari: No, I’m not.

Shafee: Are you sure? Because you worked at Bank Negara before.

Amhari: Bank Negara is large and I’m at the economics department.

Shafee: So you don’t know it is an offence.

Amhari: I don’t. The Maybank officer would have alerted me if there was something wrong with the money.

Shafee: So you’re saying the bank officer did not alert you?

Amhari: I’m saying there was never a query so I thought the money was good.

Shafee: It is your duty and not the bank to declare the money.

Amhari: I’m not aware.

The court also heard that information from Amhari led to a raid by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Low’s residence in Jalan Kia Peng.

“I disclosed to the MACC about the whiteboard drawings in Kia Peng, ” the witness said.

Amhari said he had visited Low’s home twice and was brought to the kitchen in the house.

In the kitchen, there was a whiteboard which was used by Low during discussions on Terengganu Investment Authority.

“I was detained by the MACC after I came back from my trips to Thailand and Cambodia with my family in July last year, ” he added.

The Star

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