No pressure to amend 1MDB audit report, former A-G tells court

Former auditor-general Ambrin Buang.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former auditor-general (A-G) Ambrin Buang told the High Court in Najib Razak’s 1MDB audit report trial today that he had not succumbed to any pressure from the former prime minister or senior ranking officials to make changes to his report.

He said this when asked by Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if he had ever succumbed to “threats” from Najib, then-chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa as well as Najib’s principal private secretary at the time, Shukry Mohd Salleh.

“There were no threats,” Ambrin said.

The former A-G also told the court that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had not made any threats against him when authorities took his statement on the audit report case.

Shafee had asked: “Did anyone tell you, maybe from the prosecution team, that there are possibilities that you may be an alleged accomplice, and you have the right to ask a judge for immunity so you will not be prosecuted?”

To this, Ambrin said no. He said that during a meeting with Najib and Ali at the Prime Minister’s Office on Feb 22, 2016, the former had not given any “specific instructions” for the content of the report to be changed.

“I informed him that there were two financial statements for 2014. I did not meet him during the process of preparing the report,” he said, adding that Najib had not asked for either of the 2014 financial statements to be included in the report.

When asked whether the Feb 24, 2016 meeting he had with Ali along with Shukry, senior treasury officials, an official from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy was a follow-up to the earlier exit conference for 1MDB to provide explanation for the report, Ambrin said no.

“To us, this meeting was not the exit conference. We were invited to the meeting and were informed about what areas they wanted to look at again.

“Only the A-G can chair an exit conference.”

He added that they, as government auditors, tried to listen to the stakeholders in the meeting about what areas they could “drop” from the audit report.

“It was a request by Arul (Kanda) through Ali to sit down with us and go through the report,” he said.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Thursday.

Najib faces a charge of abusing his power in order to obtain immunity from legal action and causing amendments to the finalised 1MDB audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee, while Arul is accused of abetting him.