Court affirms 1MDB audit report case to begin on Nov 18

Najib Razak and Arul Kanda Kandasamy are accused of tampering with the final audit report on 1MDB. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today affirmed that the trial of former prime minister Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy for allegedly tampering with the fund’s audit report will begin on Nov 18.

Justice Mohamad Zaini Mazlan dismissed the application by deputy public prosecutor Mohammad Al-Saifi Hashim for the trial to be postponed to Jan 13-17 next year.

Al-Saifi said the current trial dates from Nov 18-29 would clash with those of other cases.

However, lawyers Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and N Sivanathan, representing Najib and Arul, said there would be no problem beginning the 1MDB audit report case next month.

“I do not mind starting on Nov 18 because it will give us some time to prepare our defence for the SRC International case, if it is called,” Shafee said.

He added that High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali would rule on Nov 11 whether Najib must answer his seven charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power over RM42 million in funds from Retirement Fund Inc.

Sivanathan meanwhile said the prosecution should supply them with all relevant documents before the trial begins.

Zaini then set Oct 16 for re-mention for the prosecution to surrender all documents including witness statements.

When questioned by reporters later on how many witnesses the prosecution would call, Al-Saifi said they had yet to decide.

Najib is accused of using his position to obtain immunity from legal action in relation to allegations that he tampered with the 1MDB audit report between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

The offence was said to have taken place at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.

Arul was charged with abetting Najib in tampering with the report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee.