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

20 May 2022 04:44pm
Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on April 13, 2022. - Photo: BERNAMA
Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on April 13, 2022. - Photo: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The prosecution in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report case at the High Court here today sought to call Arul Kanda Kandasamy as a witness to testify against his co-accused in the trial, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram made the application before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan 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.

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.

"He (Arul Kanda) has information in his possession relevant to the charge against the other accused (Najib) in relation to a particular meeting held in February 2016 and the events that followed that meeting,” said Sri Ram.

Both Najib and Arul Kanda, who was 1MDB chief executive officer (CEO), were sitting in the dock.

In response to the application, Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said although the application has been formally made to the court, the prosecution has to meet the requirements of the law.

"They can make this application. There are provisions governing the conduct and there are cases and provisions that would support that (the application).

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"It is Yang Arif’s total discretion, guided by law and so on. They (the prosecution) have to satisfy the court whether it (the application) is within the ambit of Section 63 of the MACC Act.

"It is an unusual application. In fact, in modern times, it is probably the first time. I immediately see issues on this application including issues constitutional in nature,” said the lawyer.

Lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan, who is representing Arul Kanda, said he would not be making any submission and would leave the matter to the court’s discretion.

"My client’s position has been consistent down to when he was called for the case’s investigation. There is a prerogative of prosecution if they want to make the application,” said Sivananthan, adding that the prosecution has indicated in its opening statement at the beginning of the trial of its intention to call his client to testify.

In the prosecution’s opening statement dated Oct 18, 2019, Sri Ram said he is duty bound to inform the court that at the appropriate stage, the public prosecutor would apply in writing under Section 63 of the MACC Act to call the accused (Arul Kanda) to give evidence on the prosecution’s behalf.

After hearing oral submissions, Mohamed Zaini directed parties to put in their written submissions and fixed May 30 to hear the application.

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 MACC 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