Ambrin, Madinah grilled over 1MDB audit tampering

Govt will send protest note to Singapore over the latter’s decision to operate its ILS for the Seletar Airport

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Former Auditor-General (A-G) Tan Sri Ambrin Buang (picture) testified to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday to explain the alleged tampering of the final audit report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said Ambrin, who was questioned for over six hours, cooperated well with the bipartisan committee.

“We are in the middle of our cross examinations. This will continue after 2.30pm. The topic of our discussion is on the 1MDB audit and Ambrin is giving us full cooperation that will help with our investigations,” he told reporters during lunch break in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The current A-G Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad also met the PAC to provide her explanation over the alleged tampering yesterday afternoon.

In October, Ambrin insisted that nobody had tampered with his report, saying he had full authority over it.

Madinah disclosed on Nov 25 that several parts of the 1MDB audit report were removed following orders from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

In a statement, Madinah listed down in chronological order all altered items in the report.

This revelation came after Najib repeatedly claimed that his relationship with Low Taek Jho was strictly professional and was forged with the country’s economic interests in mind.

It stated that former private secretary to Najib, Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh had requested the 1MDB audit team to prepare a final audit report on the troubled state fund on Feb 20, 2016.

Two days later, in the presence of former Chief Secretary Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and Ambrin, Najib ordered the removal of two paragraphs from the audit report which contained its 2014 financial statement and recommendations for a full investigation by authorities on 1MDB.

On Feb 23, 2016, during a meeting at the Chief Secretary’s Office which was attended by Ali, Shukry and Ambrin, the 1MDB audit team was informed that the government had classified the final audit report of 1MDB as “crisis”.

Subsequently, in another meeting — this time with then 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, and representatives from the Attorney-General’s Office and Ministry of Finance — it was decided that a few more paragraphs from the report be removed and amended.

On Feb 25, the audit team was instructed by the ex-chief secretary to attend a meeting at his office with Najib and Arul to “continue” discussions about the final audit report where more reported findings were ordered to be removed.

In the following day, Shukry instructed a paragraph detailing Low’s attendance in a 1MDB board of directors meeting to be removed from the audit report.

Shukry had said previously that this was done to prevent the Opposition from “exploiting” the facts on an otherwise sensitive issue.

On Feb 28, 2016, Shukry asked for the amended version of the 1MDB audit report to be given to him. The next day, the final report was given to the ex-chief secretary.

Then on March 1, the ex-chief secretary instructed the 1MDB audit team to once again convene at his office to discuss the amended final version of the report. This time, only he and 1MDB’s Arul went through the report, page after page with the audit team.

More amendments were then made.

On March 2, the finalised version of the 1MDB audit report was printed and the next day, two copies were handed to Shukry and Ali.

On March 4 and 7, Ambrin tabled the final report to the PAC.