KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 (Bernama) -- National Audit Department (NAD) officer Nor Salwani Muhammad did not breach any code of conduct when she placed a recorder in her superior’s pencil case during a 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report coordination meeting.
Former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said Nor Salwani, 52, was part of the NAD audit team and she was supposed to take down notes, but was ushered out of the Feb 24, 2016 meeting because there was not enough space.
The sixth prosecution witness said this while fielding questions from lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram during examination-in-chief on the fifth day of the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy on alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.
Sri Ram: What is her function?
Ambrin: She is supposed to take down notes because the meeting discusses very important issues. There is a standing instruction that she has to follow all the (1MDB audit report) meetings.
An audio recording of a meeting linked to the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report was played in the High Court last week.
COURT-AMBRIN (CODE) 2 KUALA LUMPUR
Ambrin was also queried by Sri Ram about his meeting with Najib on Nov 22, 2016 at the Prime Minister's Office.
“Najib through his former chief private secretary (Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh) had called for the meeting to discuss about issues in the audit report and I took the opportunity to alert him (Najib) about the different versions of the financial statement. Datuk Seri Najib gave me an assurance that he will get to the bottom of it," he said (conflicting financial statement),” he said.
Sri Ram: When he (Najib) said "I will get to the bottom of it", did you believe him?
Ambrin: He was the prime minister, I had no reason to not believe him.
Ambrin admitted he never received confirmation whether Najib did actually get to "the bottom of it".
Ambrin also testified that he felt cheated when he discovered that a police report was never lodged despite the assurance from Najib, over two conflicting financial statements that were left out of the 1MDB final report.
“I wouldn’t know if Najib really got to the bottom of things at that time but I felt cheated, as I was given an assurance by him," he said.
“On that premise, I agreed to drop the issue of the two versions (of the 1MDB financial statements) from the (1MDB final audit) report," Ambrin said.
COURT-AMBRIN (CODE) 3 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
Najib, 66, was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.
He was charged, in his capacity as a public officer, which was as the prime minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
Najib allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016. The charge was framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time and in accordance with Section 28 (1) (c) of the MACC Act 2009 read with Section 23 (1) & 24 (1) of the same act, which provides for similar punishment, if found guilty.
The trial before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues tomorrow.