Prosecution closes Najib and Arul Kanda's 1MDB audit report tampering case

07 Sep 2022 07:40pm
Former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex for his trial, today. - BERNAMA
Former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex for his trial, today. - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - The prosecution in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit tampering case involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy today wrapped up its case, after calling 16 witnesses.

Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram who is leading the prosecution team told High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan that the prosecution closed its case today after completing cross-examination on Arul Kanda as the 15th prosecution witness.

"We hereby close the prosecution’s case and offer 18 witnesses to the defence,” he said.

Among the witnesses are former Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Justice Mohamed Zaini then ordered parties to file in their written submissions on Oct 7, reply of submissions on Oct 14, and for parties to appear before him in court for oral clarification on Oct 28.

Arul Kanda’s lawyer Datuk N.Sivananthan informed the court that they would be addressing the court through written submissions on whether indemnity should be offered to his client.

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Justice Mohamed Zaini said he will decide on whether Arul Kanda would be granted a full acquittal or a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) at the end of the prosecution case.

"I believe it is the most proper way to do it,” said the judge.

The audit report tampering trial, which took 43 days, began on Nov 18, 2019 and heard testimonies from several key witnesses including former Chief Secretary to the Government the late Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa; former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad, former 1MDB Chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh and former National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad.

On June 24, the court allowed the prosecution’s application for Arul Kanda to take the stand as a witness and give evidence against Najib in the trial under Section 63(1)of the MACC Act.

Under Section 63(3) of the MACC Act, any witness who is required to give true and full discovery evidence under subsection 1, shall be entitled to receive a certificate of indemnity under the seal of the court, where the certificate shall be a bar to all legal proceedings over such matters.

Najib, 69, 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 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