MACC investigator: Najib used powers as PM to order 1MDB audit report changed to protect himself from civil, criminal action

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had used his powers to instruct for changes to be made in 2016 to the auditor-general's audit report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) before it could be given to the bipartisan parliamentary watchdog Public Accounts Committee, an investigator with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said today.

MACC senior enforcement officer Haniff Lami said this as the 16th prosecution witness in the corruption trial against Najib in relation to the alleged tampering of the 1MDB audit report.

Haniff is the investigating officer for this case, where Najib is on trial for having allegedly abused his powers for self-gratification and where former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is jointly on trial for allegedly abetting Najib in committing the alleged offence.

"Based on my investigation, the second accused in this case, had used his powers as prime minister and finance minister at that time by ordering for the audit report on 1MDB to be amended before it can be tabled at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on February 24, 2016. For Arul Kanda Kandasamy (the first accused), he had abetted the second accused in this case," Haniff told the High Court today

In concluding what investigations had uncovered in this case, Haniff said Najib had ordered the prime minister's then principal private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh to obtain the 1MDB audit report and to give a copy to then 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda for checks to be made.

Haniff said investigations showed that Najib had ordered a meeting in his Putrajaya office on February 22, 2016 which was attended by former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the late chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.

Haniff said that Najib had in that meeting ordered Ali to hold a coordination meeting between the National Audit Department (NAD) and Arul Kanda to discuss matters which he was "dissatisfied" with in the NAD's 1MDB audit report, and that Najib had also said the 1MDB audit report is not to be printed until he gives his permission.

Haniff said Ali had then held a meeting on February 24, 2016 which Arul Kanda attended, and that this meeting resulted in amendments being made to the 1MDB audit report on four items, including the existence of two different financial statements for 1MDB for the year 2014, and the presence of Low Taek Jho in a meeting.

After that meeting, the auditor-general's 1MDB audit report which was tabled to the PAC on March 4, 2016 and March 7, 2016 was a report which "had been amended subsequent to the second accused's order," he said.

"My investigation findings show that was done by the first accused and the second accused to protect themselves from any civil or criminal action related to 1MDB operations," he said.

In this trial, Najib is accused of having as then prime minister and then finance minister abused his position between February 22, 2016 and February 26, 2016 to receive self-gratification in the form of protection from civil or criminal action over his role in the handling of 1MDB operations, by instructing for amendments to the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB - which was already finalised and ready to be presented to the parliamentary watchdog Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - before it was finally presented to the PAC.

The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan is scheduled to resume on August 18.