Najib, Arul Kanda’s acquittal in 1MDB audit-tampering case stands

PUTRAJAYA – Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (picture) and former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy’s acquittal in the 1MDB audit tampering case stands.

This follows a decision by the Court of Appeal’s three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk Azmi Ariffin to strike out the two notices of appeal filed by the prosecution.

This was after the prosecution failed to file its petition of appeal within the stipulated time and they also did not file any application to extend the deadline to file the petition of appeal.

Justice Hadhariah said under the law, the notices of appeal were deemed to have lapsed and become invalid when the petition of appeal was not filed on time and there was also no application by the prosecution for extension of time. 

In today’s proceeding, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Yusaini Amer Abdul Karim appearing for the prosecution told the panel that the prosecution had intended to file an application to seek an extension of time to file its petition of appeal. However, Arul Kanda’s lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan and Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah objected.

On March 3 this year, High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan (now Court of Appeal judge) freed Najib and Arul Kanda without calling them to enter their defence.  

The prosecution subsequently filed the notices of appeal on March 9, this year, seeking to appeal to the Court of Appeal the High Court decision.

However, the prosecution did not file its petition of appeal within the stipulated time and it also did not file any application to seek an extension of time to file the petition of appeal.

According to court procedure, the petition of appeal is required to be filed within 10 days of receipt of the appeal records from the High Court registry.

Najib, 70, who is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence in Kajang prison for misappropriating SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, 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, 46, is charged with abetting with Najib in making the amendments to the report, to protect him (Najib) from being subjected to action.

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

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