by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
FORMER auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang told the High Court today that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) had never told him which of the two conflicting versions of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) 2014 financial statements that he (Najib) wanted to be included in the company final audit report.
The sixth prosecution witness was referring to his earlier testimony on Najib’s request not to enter the issue on the two versions of the financial statements in the 1MDB audit report during a meeting at the former premier’s office on Feb 22, 2016.
Ambrin, 70, also agreed with lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Najib, that the former prime minister only assured him (Ambrin) that he will get to the bottom of the issue.
Muhammad Shafee: Did the (former) prime minister said which of the two (1MDB) financial statements, that he prefers, A so don’t put B, or B so don’t put A.
Ambrin: No, no, he never said that.
Muhammad Shafee: He (Najib) just said that “I will get to the bottom of the issue”.
Ambrin, who is now a retiree, said this in the trial of Najib and former 1MDB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arul Kanda Kandasamy for allegedly tampering with the 1MDB final audit report.
Najib, 67, was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report which was already ‘finalised’ by Auditor-General before the report was ‘finalised again’ and presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action being taken against him.
As for Arul Kanda, 44, he was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB.
They were charged under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
In his earlier statement, Ambrin explained on the two versions of the 1MDB’s financial statements, where a version sent to the Companies Commission of Malaysia stated that 1MDB had used RM4.03 billion in funds raised from the Segregated Portfolio Company (SPC) investment to pay off the company’s debts.
Another version of the financial statement was sent to the Ministry of Finance, Deutsche Bank and AmBank stating that the RM4.03 billion in funds raised from SPC’s investment was still in 1MDB’s savings.
The two conflicting versions of 1MDB’s financial reports were among four issues agreed to be removed from the company audit report.
The witness also agreed with Muhammad Shafee’s suggestion that Najib did not give specific instructions on the amendments to the audit report.
Muhammad Shafee: The only thing is, he (Najib) was concerned about the two conflicting financial statements.
Ambrin: Yes, I was the one who informed him about the two conflicting financial statements.
Muhammad Shafee: As a reasonable or intelligent prime minister, he (Najib) has to be concern (about the issue).
Ambrin: Yes, he should be, it’s a very important issue.
The witness also agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that he was never pressured by Najib to do the amendments on the audit report, instead, he was pressured when he and his team from the National Audit Department (NAD) suddenly had to entertain the proposed amendments at the last minute when the report was ready to be presented to the PAC.
The final 1MDB audit report which was to be presented on Feb 24, 2016, had to be tabled in March 2016 after several amendments were made.
The hearing before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues tomorrow.