Arul Kanda took ‘a long time’ to furnish 1MDB information, says ex-audit dept officer

Arul Kanda Kandasamy could have faced difficulty in getting 1MDB information as the audit was for a period before his time, High Court told.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former officer of the National Audit Department (NAD) today told the High Court that former 1MDB president and CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy did not fully cooperate with the department.

Sadaatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, the seventh prosecution witness in the 1MDB audit tampering trial said the information sought from Arul came too little and too late, despite Arul promising to provide all information for auditing.

“He said no problem. I met him and the 1MDB chairman many times, but the information never came on time. I didn’t know to what extent was the cooperation,” she said when cross-examined by lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Sadaatul said she met Arul in 2015 soon after his appointment in 1MDB.

“He should have given us the information rather than make us wait for months,” she added.

Nafisah said Arul, in the end, provided about 60% of the information sought for the 1MDB audit.

“We did not get 100%, only 60% and it took a long time,” Nafisah added.

However, Nafisah agreed with Shafee that Arul might have had to get the information from others as the audit had been conducted for the period when he was not in authority.

Further, Shafee said, the information asked had also to get clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Arul was appointed CEO on Jan 1, 2015, replacing Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman.

1MDB, a company which was under the Finance Ministry Incorporated, was founded in September 2009.

The audit was for the period between 2009 and 2014. A 12-member NAD team conducted the exercise between March 9, 2015 and March 4, 2016.

Nafisah said the audit was supposed to have been completed much earlier but was delayed due to the lack of cooperation from 1MDB.

Shafee also asked Nafisah if NAD’s unhappiness with 1MDB was due to 1MDB’s first CEO, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Shafee: Your unhappiness with 1MDB’s lack of corporation came from Shahrol, and not much from Arul, as Shahrol was obstructing the audit on the company?

Nafisah: No, I never met Shahrol and never worked with him.

Shafee: Do you agree 1MDB was not an ordinary company due to conspiracies from people like (fugitive financier) Low Taek Jho?

Nafisah: At that time I did not know but was aware after the audit exercise.

She was testifying against Najib Razak, who 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. Arul is charged with abetment.

The trial before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan was adjourned to a date to be fixed later.