Najib, Arul to face charges on altered 1MDB audit report, say sources

Former prime minister Najib Razak and ex-1MDB executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak and ex-1MDB executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy are expected to face charges for the alleged tampering with of the company’s audit report, sources say.

One of them said Najib would be prosecuted under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act for using his office for gratification.

“He is said to have used his position by instructing the auditor-general to remove certain findings from the report, to evade any possible civil or criminal action in the future,” the source told FMT.

Arul meanwhile will be charged with abetting Najib.

Under Section 24, the principle offender and abettor, if found guilty, could be jailed up to 20 years and fined not less than five times the value of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The source said investigators relied on a rarely used definition of gratification in the MACC Act although the offence could not be quantified in monetary terms.

“Gratification is usually in the form of money, but in the present case, an order was issued to remove the findings to save oneself from legal action,” the source said.

According to the source, Najib and Arul are expected to be at the MACC headquarters tomorrow for further questioning.

“They will likely be produced before a Sessions Court judge in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday,” the source added.

Two weeks ago, Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad said in a statement that amendments were made to the audit report on the investment arm, on orders from Najib and his former principal private secretary Shukry Salleh.

In the statement on Nov 24, Madinah also said mention of businessman Low Taek Jho’s presence at a 1MDB board meeting and a paragraph containing two versions of the 1MDB financial statement for the year ended 2014 were removed.

She said former chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa, former auditor-general Ambrin Buang, and Arul were also involved.

Last Thursday, MACC officers grilled Najib for several hours over the matter. Arul was also interrogated earlier.

Ambrin and former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad were also called in for questioning over the report.

Najib, who is also former finance minster, and ex-Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah presently face six charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) amounting to RM6.6 billion.

On Oct 25, Najib, 65, and Irwan, 61, pleaded not guilty to all six charges, linked to the 1MDB scandal, the East Coast Rail Link and two gas pipeline projects in the peninsula and Sabah.

They were accused of committing the offences at the Finance Ministry Complex in Putrajaya between December 2016 and December 2017.

Najib also faces 21 money laundering charges and four charges of power abuse linked to 1MDB.

In addition, the Pekan MP faces three charges of CBT and one for abusing his power in the transfer of RM42 million of SRC International funds into his bank account.

He has also been charged with three counts of money laundering related to the same transaction, under the Anti-Money Laundering, Prevention of Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The trials are scheduled to begin at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur in February.