Saturday, May 21, 2022

Former A-G should have decided what to include or exclude from 1MDB audit report, court told

Madinah Mohamad, who took over the role from Ambrin Buang in 2017, says ultimate authority lay with the auditor-general.

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court was today told that former auditor-general Ambrin Buang should have decided what information to be included and excluded from the final 1MDB audit report as ultimate authority lay with him at that point of time.

Madinah Mohamad, who took over the role from Ambrin in 2017, said it was still the prerogative of Ambrin then to decide whether or not to accept suggestions made by the auditee.

The 66-year-old witness said this during cross-examination by counsel N Sivananthan, representing former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy in his trial with former prime minister Najib Razak for allegedly tampering with the final audit report.

Madinah, the 12th prosecution witness who was not involved in the audit process in 2015 and 2016, however agreed that an auditee could not instruct an auditor to remove certain facts or findings from audit reports.

Sivananthan: Do you agree with me that the auditee, however, may make suggestions as to what information to be included in the audit report based on the document?

Madinah: I agree.

Sivananthan: Ultimately, it is the auditor-general (Ambrin) who should decide what should be in and not be in (in the audit report)?

Madinah: Yes, correct.

Madinah also agreed with Sivananthan that Ambrin would be the correct person to explain what had happened during the 1MDB audit process and what was done or not.

She further agreed that the auditor-general had a lot of discretion to decide what should or should not be done.

Najib, 68, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the final 1MDB audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee 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, Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

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 on April 20.

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