KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was not satisfied with the contents of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report, which was to be presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Feb 24, 2016, the High Court here was told today.
Former Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said this was related by the former prime minister when he (Ali) was called to the latter’s office on Feb 22, 2016.
Ali, 64, who was chief secretary until August 2018, said also present during the meeting was the former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
“(During that meeting) Datuk Seri Najib mentioned that he did not want two different financial statements for 1MDB to be submitted in the 1MDB audit report. At that time, I did not know what the problem was with 1MDB’s annual financial statement,“ he said.
Ali told the court that despite being a member of the board of advisors of 1MDB, he was never called to attend a meeting as a member of the board, and he had never signed any documents in such a capacity.
“I was never involved in any 1MDB audit process by the National Audit Department (NAD). During that meeting, I had never even read the 1MDB audit report which Datuk Seri Najib referred to,” said the fourth prosecution witness on the second day of the trial of Najib and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy over the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.
Asked during examination-in-chief by lead prosecutor, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, about what Najib’s demeanour was like during the meeting, Ali said he noticed that Najib looked a little upset and after the discussion, he was instructed by Najib to conduct a coordination meeting between the NAD and Arul Kanda, with regard to any dissatisfaction the NAD had over the 1MDB audit report.
“I was also instructed not to print the 1MDB audit report until I had his (Najib) approval. At that time, I did not have any knowledge about the status of the 1MDB audit report; whether it had been finalised or not,” he said.
Ali who was in the civil service for 38 years, said that on Feb 23, 2016, during a meeting at his office with Ambrin and Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh, the former principal private secretary to Najib, in attendance, Shukry informed them that the 1MDB audit report had became a crisis that had to be handled immediately.
Ali further testified, that at the start of the meeting on Feb 24, 2016 which he chaired, he had informed everyone present that the meeting was held on the instructions of Najib who wanted coordination on the 1MDB audit report.
“During the meeting, no minutes were recorded. All issues about the 1MDB audit report raised by the NAD, were discussed one by one. They were then addressed by Arul Kanda,” he said.
Najib is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.
Both men have been charged under provisions of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, which carry a maximum 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 tomorrow. - Bernama