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Arul Kanda hands expert report on 1MDB audit report tampering case to prosecution

This story has been updated for clarity.

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 29): Former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president and chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy today handed in an expert report in relation to his 2014 audit report tampering charge, which he is facing at the High Court alongside former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The report was handed in today to the prosecution, Arul Kanda's lawyer Datuk N Sivananthan confirmed.

While the lawyer did not disclose the contents of the report, which would be tendered in the trial, it is understood the expert report concerns Arul Kanda's handwriting.

Deputy public prosecutor Rozaliana Zakaria, who appeared with Nor Azah Kasran and Hidayatul Syuhada Shamsuddin, told the court that the prosecution had given various documents to the defence in preparation for the case.

"We will send more documents including the witness statements to the case as soon as they are ready. We have yet to confirm on the list of witnesses and hence the delay in the witness statement preparation," she said.

Meanwhile, presiding judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ordered the prosecution to quickly prepare and give the documents to the defence.

"You should make an effort to prepare the documents including the witness statements as soon as possible. Do not give them before the trial.

"Please give the documents and witnesses statements one week before the trial. This is to allow the defence more time for them to prepare the case. I do not want this case to be delayed," the judge said.

Following that, Justice Zaini fixed Oct 7 as case management for the case, to ensure everything is in order.

The trial for this case had been fixed on Nov 18 to 29, and Jan 13 to 17, 2020.

Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah informed the court that High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had fixed Nov 11 to deliver his decision on whether the former premier's defence would be called or he would be acquitted in relation to the SRC International Sdn Bhd charges.

Hence, he gave an indication over the possibility of having the November trial dates moved.

Justice Zaini said he is sympathetic to the defence but did not make a decision on whether to move the trial dates to December.

The former premier is accused of obtaining a bribe in the form of protection from disciplinary action by ordering the audit report's amendment while it was being prepared.

It was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee on March 4, 2016.

He is accused of committing the offence at the complex of the Prime Minister's Department in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

The charge, under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, provides for up to 20 years' jail and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in using the latter's position as then prime minister to order the report's amendment, at the same place and time.

The charge, under Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act, read together with Section 23(1) & 24(1) of the Act, provides for a similar sentence, if found guilty.

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