Prosecution seeks to amend charges in 1MDB audit report case

Former prime minister Najib Razak is accused of tampering with the final audit report on 1MDB. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in Najib Razak’s 1MDB audit report case is seeking to amend the charges against the former prime minister and former company CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib told High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan that they wanted the amended charges to be read to Najib and Arul.

However, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah objected to the proposed amendments, saying they could have serious implications for the defence’s case.

“These amendments may drastically change the prosecution’s position,” he said.

“The crux of our cross-examination of the witnesses was that there was nothing wrong with requesting to amend an audit report that is yet to be finalised.”

Shafee told the court that the prosecution, at the start of the trial, amended the charges against Najib and Arul by alleging that Najib had abused his position and caused amendments to the 1MDB audit report prepared by then-auditor-general Ambrin Buang before it was finalised and tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“Now the prosecution wants to say that the A-G had finalised the audit report, and allege that it was later amended,” he said.

Shafee also said the defence was considering making an application under Section 173(g) of the Criminal Procedure Code arguing that the charge is groundless.

Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram meanwhile said the prosecution’s case was centred on Najib allegedly using his position under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act regarding the audit report.

“The most important thing is to focus on the offence itself.

“We made it clear from the testimonies of Ambrin, Salwani and Nafisah that the report was not a draft copy,” he said.

Nor Salwani Muhammad is director of the National Audit Department (nad) while Saadatul Nafisah Ahmad Bashir was NAD’s team leader for the 1MDB special audit exercise.

The judge allowed the trial to adjourn until June 24 as Shafee requested for more time to prepare his objection.

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. Arul meanwhile is accused of abetting him in the crime.

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