“I slipped voice recorder into pencil case”, Witness tells court


A witness in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) final audit report tampering trial today admitted in court to making a voice recording of a meeting linked to the report.

National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Nor Salwani Muhammad, 52, told the High Court here that she had done this by slipping in a voice recorder into the pencil case of NAD representative at the meeting, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, without her (Saadatul Nafisah) knowledge just before the meeting commenced.

The fifth prosecution witness said she only did that so that she will be able to prepare the minutes of the audit report coordination meeting, as she was not allowed to sit in that meeting.

“I was appointed coordinator of the meeting. Due to this, I needed to know what was being discussed in the meeting as I was not part of it (the meeting).

“Saadatul Nafisah had no knowledge I had kept a voice recorder in her pencil case. After the meeting ended, I took the voice recorder out from the pencil case and took it back to the office,” she said.

Nor Salwani said this during examination-in-chief by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on the fourth day of the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy on alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.

Questioned by Sri Ram as to who owned the voice recorder, Nor Salwani replied that it was NAD property.

Cross examined by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is representing Najib, the witness said she had no time to inform Saadatul Nafisah that she had placed the recorder into the pencil case, adding that she also had no intention of doing it discreetly.

“After I was asked hurriedly to leave the room just before the meeting commenced, I noticed a pencil case on the table and I slipped in the voice recorder,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee: Are you so unethical to the point of not informing former Chief Secretary to the Government (Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa) that as a representative of (NAD) you have to leave a recording device for the purpose of preparing the minutes

Nor Salwani: At that point, I was quite unsettled…and I did not have the chance to do so.

An audio recording of a meeting linked to the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report chaired by Ali, was played in the High Court yesterday.

Najib, 66, 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.

The trial before Justice Mohamed Zaini continues next Wednesday.