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Najib’s order to sign off on 1MDB financial statement was ‘intimidation’, KPMG partner tells court

Johan Idris describes what took place during a meeting at Najib's residence on Dec 15, 2013.

2 minute read
Former prime minister Najib Razak.
Former prime minister Najib Razak.

KPMG Malaysia managing partner Johan Idris today described Najib Razak’s instruction to the audit firm to complete and sign off on its audit of 1MDB’s 2013 financial statement within two weeks as a form of intimidation.

He said this when re-examined by lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram at the former prime minister’s trial for the misappropriation of RM2.3 billion in 1MDB funds.

The 14th prosecution witness was questioned about a meeting which took place on the night of Dec 15, 2013, at Najib’s residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, Kuala Lumpur.

The 45-minute meeting was between KPMG with Johan as its sole representative, 1MDB and Najib himself.

Sri Ram: You were asked to confirm that the minutes of the meeting do not show there was any pressure exerted by the accused Najib upon you at this meeting. You were there, at ground zero, so was there any pressure at all?

Johan: I put it (as) intimidation… Intimidation for us to conclude and sign the audit statement ending March 31, 2013.

Sri Ram: From whom did this come?

Johan: Najib.

Najib’s counsel Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed then stood and objected to the witness’ answer as the word “intimidation” was never raised by Johan in any of his answers.

However, High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah asked the defence to put forth its submissions.

Previously, the court heard that KPMG had not signed off on the audit for 1MDB’s financial statement for the financial year ended March 31, 2013, as 1MDB had yet to provide the information that KPMG had been asking for since April 2013.

In the minutes of the meeting that Johan himself had typed out, he noted that Najib had asked for KPMG to sign the audit by Dec 31, 2013.

Najib, 68, faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB funds and 21 charges of money laundering involving the same amount.

The trial before Sequerah continues.