Monday, September 27, 2021

1MDB had trouble during audit after documents seized in police raid, court told

Witness agrees during cross-examination that the raid and seizure of documents would have placed 1MDB in a 'difficult position'.

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1MDB faced difficulties during an audit process in 2015 after the police raided its office and seized documents a day before an interim report on the initial findings of the state-owned sovereign wealth fund was presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.

This was suggested by counsel N Sivananthan to former National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, 66, during cross-examination at the 1MDB audit report tampering trial involving former prime minister Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

The seventh prosecution witness agreed with Sivananthan, who is acting for Arul Kanda, that the police had also seized documents during the raid carried out on July 8, 2015.

PAC received the interim report of 1MDB from then auditor-general Ambrin Buang on July 9, 2015.

Sivananthan: Are you aware that the police had seized documents from 1MDB on July 8, 2015?

Saadatul: I heard in the news but I don’t remember the exact date and what documents were seized.

Sivananthan: Are you aware that the interim report to PAC was presented on July 9, 2015?

Saadatul: Yes, we presented (it). I don’t remember the actual date but three to four months after our audit.

Sivananthan: Under the circumstances, do you agree with me that it (the raid and seizure) would have put 1MDB in a little bit of a difficult position, bearing in mind that police had seized the documents and they, therefore, had to request those documents back from the authorities for the audit process?

Saadatul: Yes.

Sivananthan also suggested to the witness that 57 areas of the 1MDB audit report were amended after Arul Kanda gave additional information to NAD, to which Saadatul replied: “I’m not sure, but the wording was amended.”

Sivananthan then asked the witness to refer to an intensive documentary exhibit to verify the amended part in the audit report.

At this juncture, judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan directed Sivananthan to give the witness more time to answer the question as she needed to go through the intensive documentary exhibit first.

Najib, 68, was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to PAC 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.

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.

The trial will continue on Sept 27.

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