No threats made against Ambrin to amend 1MDB report, Najib’s trial told

Former chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa said he knows the former auditor-general for 40 years and did not force him or his auditors to tamper with their findings. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa told the High Court in Najib Razak’s 1MDB audit report tampering trial that no one made threats against the then auditor-general Ambrin Buang and National Audit Department to amend the report on the sovereign fund.

Answering questions from the former prime minister’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Ali said that a Feb 24, 2016 meeting he chaired was attended by the Audit Department, a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), senior Treasury officials, a representative from the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

The meeting was called at Najib’s instruction, Ali said, stating that the prime minister was not satisfied with the draft report’s contents.

Shafee: “Did you or Arul, or anyone there, threaten Ambrin to amend the report pertaining to 1MDB? Because that seems to be the cornerstone of our case.”

Ali: “There was no threat. I did not pressure Ambrin to amend or tamper with it.”

Ali said he had known Ambrin for almost 40 years.

He also said that during the meeting, the country’s auditors agreed to remove four items in their draft report, namely two conflicting 1MDB financial statements in 2014; the sovereign fund’s agreement with Country Group; Low Taek Jho’s name in one of the board’s meetings; as well as an issue related to issuance of Islamic Medium Term Notes (IMTN).

Ali added he did not know if anyone from 1MDB, such as former chief financial officer Azmi Tahir or former CEO Mohd Hazem Abd Rahman, were charged in court for the conflicting financial statements.

Shafee: So the issue on the conflicting statements remains unsolved?

Ali: Yes.

The former top government servant also replied in the affirmative to Shafee’s suggestion that Najib was not protecting any 1MDB staff members on the conflicting financial statements.

The court previously heard Ambrin’s testimony that he felt “cheated” when Treasury officials did not make an attempt to lodge the police report pertaining to the conflicting financial statements.

Najib was 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 while Arul was accused of abetting Najib.

The hearing continues on Wednesday (June 17) before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

Ali will continue his testimony and the defence will cross-examine Ambrin again.

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