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Friday, May 20, 2022

Ex-1MDB CEO Arul Kanda may turn into star witness against Najib


Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy now has the potential to testify against former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in the duo’s audit report case involving the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram this morning applied for the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s green light to call co-accused Arul Kanda to give oral evidence against the former finance minister.

Previously, on Nov 18 2019, the prosecution informed the court that they intend to call Arul Kanda.

During proceedings before trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan this morning, former Federal Court judge Sri Ram said that Arul Kanda possesses material information that can boost the case against Najib.

“This accused (Arul Kanda) has info in relation to transactions with the other accused (Najib), which will materially affect the outcome of the prosecution of that accused (Najib).

“He (Arul Kanda) has information in his possession relevant to the charge against the other accused (Najib) in relation to the meeting held in February (24, 2016), events that preceded it and events that followed that meeting,” Sri Ram said.

Ordered amendments

Najib is charged with using his position to order amendments to 1MDB's final audit report before it was presented to the PAC to prevent any action against him.

Co-accused Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments.

The charges are framed under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act 2009, which specifies a 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.

The prosecution is contending that a decision to make the amendments was taken during a meeting on Feb 24, 2016, at the office of the then chief secretary to the government, Ali Hamsa.

It was alleged this was done to remove or alter certain portions of the 1MDB audit report, including dropping the issue of wanted fugitive Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) attendance at the fund’s board meetings.

Another issue that was allegedly dropped from the 1MDB audit report was the two conflicting 2014 financial statements of the sovereign wealth fund.

Besides Ali and Arul Kanda, others who were present at the meeting were former auditor-general Ambrin Buang, former NAD officer Saadatul Nafisah Ahmad Bashir, Najib’s former chief private secretary Shukry Salleh, and the then Attorney-General’s Chambers representative Dzulkifli Ahmad.

[More to come] - Mkini

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