1MDB audit report trial postponed to Feb 22 due to MCO


KUALA LUMPUR – The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit tampering trial involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) and former 1MDB president and chief executive officer (CEO) Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be postponed to February.

The trial was scheduled to continue on Monday but has to be postponed following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in six states from Jan 13 to 26 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The trial will resume on Feb 22 at the High Court here before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan if the MCO was not extended, said deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib when contacted today.

“Next week’s trial will be postponed; it will resume on Feb 22 to 24,” he said via WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, when asked on the hearing of the Pekan MP’s application to disqualify senior DPP Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as prosecutor in the trial on Jan 27, Ahmad Akram said it will proceed as scheduled in open court before Justice Zaini.

At least seven prosecution witnesses including former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang had testified and the prosecution would call about 11 more witnesses to testify in the trial, which was last heard on Oct 13 last year.

On June 12 last year, Najib, 68, filed an application to recuse Sri Ram, supported by two affidavits, one filed by Najib and the other by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Najib is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report that had already been “finalised” by the Auditor-General, before it was “finalised again” and presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.

Arul Kanda, 45, 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.

Both of them were charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.