Arul to appear in the dock for the first time on 1MDB audit report

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by

Former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and ex-president of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be charged on alleged tampering of 1MDB’s final audit report today.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said in a statement that it has received approval from the Attorney General’s Chambers to charge the duo at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

The anti-graft agency said, however, the charges will be read out separately at 8am this morning.

It will be the first time for Arul Kanda, 42, to appear in court after spending  a night at the MACC lock-up yesterday.

He was arrested at 10.32 yesterday morning when he came for questioning at the MACC office in Putrajaya for his alleged involvement on the audit report.

While Najib is already facing 38 criminal charges, today’s indictment would be the first time for Arul Kanda to face consequences over his involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

The experienced investment banker joined 1MDB on January 2015 with a herculean task to turnaround the multibillion dollar debt-ridden sovereign wealth fund.

He was sacked from 1MDB on June 28 on grounds of dereliction of duties, two days earlier from his contract that was supposed to expire on June 30, after an extension of six months from Dec 2017.

Arul was reported to receive a RM5 million salary package for the period between Jan to June this year, signed by then-Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah and approved by Najib.

He had previously served as an executive VP and head of investment banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC after had first joined the organisation in July 2008.

Prior to that, he worked in several leadership positions at Barclays Capital and Credit Agricole.

An alumnus of University College London and London School of Economics, he was the director of investment banking and financing solutions at Barclays Capital plc.

The Perak-born executive also had served RHB Capital Bhd as a non-independent non-executive director from July 20, 2009, to May 10, 2011.

On Monday, Najib was arrested by MACC at the headquarters for the same purpose but later freed on MACC bail.

On Nov 25, Auditor-General (A-G) Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad revealed that the final audit report of 1MDB had been altered with Najib’s knowledge.

She said two key points were removed from the report which stated the presence of Jho Low at a 1MDB board meeting and the financial status of 1MDB, upon which any remarks on the matter would raise red flags over mismanagement of the sovereign state fund.

The MACC has also questioned several other high-ranking officials of the previous administration to assist the investigation, including former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, former A-G Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, former MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and Tan Sri Shukry Salleh, who had served as the chief principal private secretary to the then PM.

Ambrin has denied doctoring the final audit report and insisted that the one submitted with changes was “merely a draft”.