Unlike Najib, Arul Kanda raring to go in 1MDB audit report case, says lawyer

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy in court on an earlier occasion.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who was charged alongside Najib Razak with tampering with the company’s audit report, is opposing the application by the former prime minister to adjourn their trial scheduled for Monday.

His lawyer N Sivananthan told trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan that Arul had been “in a dark cloud” since he was charged a year ago.

“He wants to vindicate himself soon and wants the trial to begin. The court must look to the interests of all and not one,” Sivananthan said in his submission.

He added that there was no guarantee the trial would begin in January as requested by Najib’s lawyer if the December dates were vacated.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib also opposed the adjournment, saying it would lead to a negative perception of the judiciary.

He said the court had refused the prosecution’s application on Wednesday to adjourn the trial, and that Najib had filed another application before SRC International trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali to get 112 witness statements to prepare his defence, now scheduled for Dec 3 to 19.

“If he fails, there is a likelihood of him asking for a postponement from that judge so that his lawyers can interview witnesses,” he said.

The application will be heard before Nazlan this afternoon.

Najib’s lawyer Harvinderjit Singh said the defence team would have only a short time to prepare for the SRC International defence if the 1MDB audit report case began on Monday.

He also said the defence had 66 witnesses to deal with and would be hardpressed for time.

Zaini said he would rule on Monday whether to grant the postponement pending what happens before Nazlan.

“Anyway, come prepared in case I disallow the adjournment,” he added.

Najib filed the motion to postpone the trial on Wednesday evening, saying it would seriously prejudice him and his lawyers in their defence in the SRC International case.

He said he had until Dec 2 to prepare his defence for the SRC International case, and that his lawyers were also involved in the 1MDB corruption trial involving RM2.28 billion.

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.

On Monday, Najib was told to enter his defence on all charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering in relation to the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.