Lawyer tests positive for COVID-19, prosecution’s application to call Arul Kanda as witness to be heard on June 14

KUALA LUMPUR – The hearing of the prosecution’s application to call Arul Kanda Kandasamy (picture) as a witness in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report tampering trial has been postponed again as Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah tested positive for COVID-19.

Najib’s other lawyer Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed said Muhammad Shafee was tested positive for COVID-19 on May 31, which caused today’s hearing before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan to be vacated to June 14.

“The judge wants to hear the application as soon as possible so there is one additional date that has been fixed namely on June 14,” he said when met by media outside of court.

The court was supposed to hear the application last Monday, but it was postponed to today after Muhammad Shafee was reported unwell.

The application to call Arul Kanda to testify against the former premier was made under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The section states that in a situation where two or more people are charged with an offence under this same law, the court may require one or more of them to give evidence as witnesses for the prosecution if a written application is made by the public prosecutor.

On May 20, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said Arul Kanda may have the information in relation to transactions with Najib which will affect the outcome of the prosecution of the former finance minister.

Najib, 68, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda, 45, is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report, to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre, Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

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 no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction. – Bernama / pic TMR File