by BERNAMA/ pic by ARIF KARTONO
A draft of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) final audit report was handed over to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) and five other individuals two days before a coordination meeting on the report was held, the High Court was told today.
The draft report was submitted on Feb 22, 2016 while the (coordination) meeting chaired by former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa was held on Feb 24, 2016, where amendments were made to the Audit Report upon instructions by Najib.
The five other individuals who received copies of the draft were former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy, Najib’s former principal private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh, former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, Ali and Attorney General’s Chambers representative Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad.
National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Nor Salwani Muhammad said this when reading her witness statement under the examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib on the third day of Najib and Arul Kanda’s trial on the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.
Explaining the printing process of the final audit report draft, the fifth witness said the draft was sent to Percetakan Keselamatan Nasional Sdn Bhd for printing on Feb 20, 2016 upon Ambrin’s instructions.
“Printing was completed on Feb 21, 2016 and were kept at the Chief Government Security Office (CGSO) for security reasons. The 1MDB final audit report draft was printed to be tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). For its first print, 60 copies were printed after which all of them were stored in a box.
“On Feb 22, 2016, I took 10 copies from CGSO and sent six copies to Tan Sri Ambrin while the remaining four were kept in a steel cabinet at the National Audit Department,” she said.
Nor Salwani added that the remaining copies of the final audit report draft were left in the box and later disposed after being instructed by Ambrin to abide by the CGSO disposal procedures.
“The printed copies of the 1MDB final audit report draft were handed over the Tan Sri Ambrin before being distributed to other individuals,” she said.
Najib, 66, is represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, while Arul Kanda, 43, is represented by lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan.
Najib was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.
He was charged, in his capacity as a public officer, which was as the Prime Minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
Najib allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.
The charge was framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time and in accordance with Section 28 (1) (c) of the MACC Act 2009 read with Section 23 (1) & 24 (1) of the same act, which provides for similar punishment, if found guilty.
Earlier, an audio recording of a meeting linked to the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report, which was chaired by Ali, was played in the High Court.
Ali had identified those who attended the Feb 24, 2016 meeting as Arul Kanda, Ambrin and Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad from the National Audit Department (NAD), Shukry and Datuk Seri Mohamad Isa Hussain from the Treasury.
During examination-in-chief by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, Ali, the fourth prosecution witness, said that he suggested for the shredding of other copies of the 1MDB Audit Report during the meeting to ensure that only the final version of the document exists.
Sri Ram: In the recording you mentioned about shredding the document, what was your purpose of making that suggestion
Ali: Because the conclusion at the end (of the meeting) there should not be two or three versions (of the 1MDB Audit Report). So, whatever the final version agreed, that should stand.
Ali, however, said that he was not sure whether the suggestion was carried out or not.
After Sri Ram completed his examination-in-chief on Ali, Muhammad Shafee and Sivananthan informed the court to reserve their cross-examination on the witness as they needed to finalise the transcript of the audio recording of the meeting that has been served to them by the prosecution.
Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed the application and also granted the prosecution and defence’s request to vacate the trial scheduled for this Friday and next Monday and Tuesday as Sri Ram and Muhammad Shafee have other matters at the higher courts.
The trial continues tomorrow.