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Monday, January 13, 2020

‘Dangerous proof’ dropped from report



KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court heard that the two conflicting 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial statements, which were allegedly omitted from the national sovereign fund’s final audit report, were “dangerous evidence”.

The descriptive words came from former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, who was heard saying “very dangerous material evidence” in an audio recording that was played in court.

The words were purportedly uttered during a meeting on Feb 24, 2016, that discussed the amendments to the report.

Retired audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, 65, was asked about the audio recording during an examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib.

She was testifying at the joint trial of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy, dubbed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) trial, here yesterday.

DPP Ahmad Akram: Ali was heard saying “very dangerous material evidence”. What does he refer to?Saadatul Nafisah: We have the evidence of the two financial statements.

DPP Ahmad Akram: And that is the dangerous material?

Saadatul Nafisah: Yes. We can prove that there are two statements.

Earlier, the court heard testimony that two conflicting versions of the 1MDB financial statements for the year 2014 were among four issues removed from the report.

The witness, who was then the head of a special team auditing 1MDB, also said her former boss, then auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, was frustrated with the outcome of the Feb 24 meeting.

“I was busy with documents and discussions on the matter after the meeting, so I did not realise how he acted until we got back to our office.

“He was frustrated. As the auditor-general, I think he was not happy,” she said, adding that she was equally frustrated with the situation.

She said throughout her years of service at the National Audit Department since 1979 and before her retirement in 2016, she had never attended a meeting for the purpose of amending an audit report.

On the issue of the device that recorded the confidential meeting, Saadatul Nafisah said she was not aware of the device until she was told about it later.

The court had heard that another department officer, Nor Salwani Muhammad, had placed the recorder discreetly in Saadatul Nafisah’s pencil case just before the meeting began.Saadatul Nafisah, who was reading her witness statement, said she should not print out the final audit report until given the “green light” by Najib.

She said Ali had told her this when she handed an updated draft of the final audit report to him at his office on Feb 29, 2016.

“As I remember, Ali said ‘don’t print the report until his green light’,” she said, adding that Ali said the report would have a political impact.“I notified Ambrin and he took note of it,” she said.

Najib is accused of using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the PAC to avoid any action against him.

He allegedly committed the offence in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016. Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib at the same place and time.

The hearing continues before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today. - Star

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