Original 1MDB report would have been submitted earlier, says key witness

Nor Salwani told the High Court that the presentation was cancelled and replaced with a meeting


THE National Audit Department (NAD) would have presented the original 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Feb 24, 2016, but it was called off, said prosecution witness.

NAD director Datuk Nor Salwani Muhammad told the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court yesterday that the presentation was cancelled and replaced with a meeting chaired by then Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

The meeting was also attended by then Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy (picture), Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s then principal private secretary Tan Sri Shukri Mohd Salleh, as well as representatives from the NAD.

Nor Salwani told the High Court that the audit on the financial position of the sovereign wealth fund had concluded and was prepared to be tabled, but it was rescheduled.

She was responding to a question by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who asked which report would have been tabled to the PAC on that day if the meeting was not convened.

It was believed that the meeting was called to remove or amend parts in the original audit report.

Ali had previously testified that a specific meeting was convened on Feb 24 with the understanding to protect the nation’s interests and was requested by Najib.

During a cross-examination by Arul Kanda’s lawyer, N Sivanathan, where he asked if the meeting was an “exit conference”, Nor Salwani disagreed and stated that it was not an exit conference as the audit department had already concluded an audit on the report.

Meanwhile, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah questioned Nor Salwani if she was conferred the Datukship title last year following her actions to reveal the alleged tampering of the audit report by keeping the original copy.

Nor Salwani said she was nominated by NAD the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah award, which carries the title Datuk, due to her service in the Federal Territories (FT) Ministry and NAD for close to 30 years.

Muhammad Shafee was referring to a news report by a local daily on Feb 1, 2020, that stated Nor Salwani was given the award due to her actions in keeping the original copy of the report.

In the news report, Harian Metro quoted then FT Minister Khalid Abdul Samad who said the award was also a manifestation of his ministry, which firmly rejects any element of corruption and abuse of power by any party.

When asked for her views on the quote, Nor Salwani said she respected the minister’s view, but the nomination had taken place before Khalid’s suggestion.

In November 2019, Nor Salwani revealed that she hid a voice recorded in a pencil case owned by a colleague to record the meeting on Feb 24, 2016.

Nor Salwani acted as the coordinator of the 1MDB audit report team, but was told to leave the room before the meeting started.

She, therefore, placed the voice recorder in a pencil case belonging to her superior former NAD audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad so that she could prepare the minute for the meeting.

Saadatul Nafisah had no knowledge of the voice recorder in her pencil case and Nor Salwani confirmed that the voice recorder was owned by NAD.

Read our previous report here

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