Prosecution wants Arul Kanda to testify in 1MDB audit report trial

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of abetting Najib Razak in the 1MDB audit report tampering trial.

KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Mei – The prosecution in Najib Razak’s 1MDB audit report tampering trial told the High Court today it will be calling on Arul Kanda Kandasamy, the company’s former CEO, to testify on its behalf.

Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib.

Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told judge Zaini Mazlan the prosecution had filed an application under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

Section 63 states that whenever two or more persons are charged with an offence, the court may, on an application in writing by the public prosecutor, require one or more of them to give evidence as a witness or witnesses for the prosecution.

“This accused (Arul Kanda) has relevant information on the transaction of the other accused (Najib) that will materially affect the outcome of our prosecution’s case.

“In simple terms, he (Arul Kanda) has information in his possession that is relevant to the other accused’s charge on the Feb 24, 2016 meeting and the events that preceded and followed after,” Sri Ram said.

Najib is standing trial for alleged abuse of power as the then prime minister and finance minister to obtain immunity from legal action and causing amendments to the finalised 1MDB audit report before it was tabled at the Public Accounts Committee meeting.

Sri Ram also informed the court that Najib’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, indicated that the defence would be opposing the prosecution’s bid to call Arul Kanda as a prosecution witness.

Zaini then said he would hear the prosecution’s application on May 30.

In the prosecution’s opening statement on Nov 18, 2019, Sri Ram had told the court the public prosecutor would apply in writing under Section 63 to call Arul Kanda to testify on the prosecution’s behalf.

What was the Feb 24, 2016 meeting about?

The court had heard that former auditor-general Ambrin Buang and his National Audit Department (NAD) officers had conducted their audit on 1MDB from March 9, 2015 to March 4, 2016.

They were supposed to table the findings to the PAC on Feb 24, 2016, but the meeting with the PAC members did not take place.

Instead, Ambrin and several officers were told to attend a meeting at the office of the then chief secretary to the government, Ali Hamsa, on the same day.

The others present were Arul Kanda, Najib’s principal private secretary at the time, Shukry Mohd Salleh, senior treasury officials and an official from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

After the meeting, four items were removed from the report. These involved two 2014 financial statements, the issuance of Islamic medium-term notes, the Islamic bonds’ secondary subscriber, and Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) presence at 1MDB board meetings.