Monday, May 16, 2022

Former A-G says ‘shocked’ at orders to amend, destroy original 1MDB audit report

Madinah Mohamad however says she did nothing until the Pakatan Harapan government came in.

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Former auditor-general Madinah Mohamad told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that she was “shocked” to learn that her predecessor Ambrin Buang and National Audit Department (NAD) officer Nor Salwani Muhammad were ordered to amend and destroy the original copy of the 1MDB audit report.

Madinah, 66, said Nor Salwani who is now the deputy auditor-general of NAD had informed her of the matter before she went into a meeting room to be briefed about the amended copy.

“I was shocked that Ambrin was instructed to amend the original copy and Nor Salwani was instructed to destroy the copies meant to be tabled to the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) in 2016.

“However, she (Nor Salwani) did not destroy the original version of the report. She kept the original version under her chair,” Madinah said.

Madinah, the 12th prosecution witness, said this during cross-examination by Najib Razak’s lead counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the trial of the former prime minister and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy for charges of tampering with the final 1MDB audit report.

Shafee: Tan Sri, you said you were shocked, but you did nothing on the matter until the new government (Pakatan Harapan) came in?

Madinah: Correct.

When asked who the culprit behind the amendment was, Madinah said she had not asked Nor Salwani about it as she was rushing for the meeting.

She also said that throughout the one year and four months she had served under Najib’s administration, she had not sought clarification from Najib about the issue as it was not necessary for her to do so.

To another question, Madinah said that a wrong had been committed through the instructions to amend and destroy the original 1MDB audit report.

Shafee: Wrong along the lines of criminality, somebody “fixing” (manipulating) the report. A criminal act?

Madinah: I just knew it was wrong for Ambrin to be pressured to amend what had been a finalised copy of the auditor-general’s report, and for Nor Salwani to be instructed to destroy all the original reports.

When further questioned, Madinah denied that she had met Najib to be appointed as auditor-general in early 2016, and that she had relied on lobbying by her late husband, then Umno deputy permanent chairman Rizuan Abdul Hamid, to be appointed as the auditor-general.

Shafee: Are you aware that your late husband lobbied for you to be auditor-general?

Madinah: When this conversation was brought up with my husband, I told him that under no circumstances should he interfere in any way, especially when I was secretary-general in two ministries, education and Mosti. He was a businessman, he was not to attempt to conduct business with these two ministries and not to lobby for anything from the PM, because if I was to be appointed, it had to be on my own merits and he understood that.

Najib, 68, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the final 1MDB audit report before it was presented to the PAC to prevent any action from being taken against him.

Arul Kanda, 45, is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report, to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre, Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

Both Najib and Arul Kanda 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 before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues.

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