Monday’s 1MDB audit report trial postponed, Najib still under quarantine

by BERNAMA / pic by AFP

THE joint trial of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and 1Malaysia Development Berhad  (1MDB) former chief executive officer (CEO) Arul Kanda Kandasamy over alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report, that was supposed to be heard on Monday, has been postponed as the former prime minister would still be under home quarantine after returning from Sabah.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said the defence team had written to Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan seeking a one-day postponement as Najib, 67, was still undergoing a two-week home quarantine that ends only on Monday.

“The court has allowed the application and Monday’s hearing has been vacated and will continue on Tuesday (Oct 13) and Wednesday (Oct 14) at 2 pm,” he told Bernama via WhatsApp today.

In proceedings before this, the audio recording of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report coordination meeting on Feb 24, 2016, which was chaired by former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, was replayed, and the remaining 30 minutes was supposed to have been played this Monday.

The Pekan MP is 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 an interest in.

Najib was accused of committing 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 is framed under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 which carries a maximum 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.

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.

On Oct 5, Najib’s 1MDB trial was postponed to Oct 19, also due to the two-week home quarantine.