Ambrin agreed to amend 1MDB audit report because Najib promised thorough probe into fund

Former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang (right), the sixth prosecution witness, at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today. (Photos by Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge)

Datuk Seri Najib Razak arriving at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex for the 1MDB audit report tampering trial today.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, the co-accused in the audit report tampering trial, at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today.

Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram arriving at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today.

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 27): Former auditor-general (AG) Tan Sri Ambrin Buang told the High Court that he agreed to amend the audit report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) on former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Razak's instruction, because the latter had promised him a thorough probe into 1MDB.

Ambrin said Najib's private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Salleh had called him to attend a meeting with the then PM and former chief secretary Tan Sri Ali Hamsa before Feb 24, 2016, to discuss about the drafted audit report on 1MDB.

In the meeting, Ambrin said Najib asked him for a briefing about serious issues that the AG found while auditing 1MDB.

Ambrin said he raised the matter of 1MDB producing two different versions of financial statements to the Companies Commission of Malaysia, and to Deustche Bank and AmBank to the former premier.

However, Ambrin said Najib told him not to include this in the audit report and promised that this matter will be brought to the relevant authorities for investigation.

"He promised me that the relevant authorities will investigate and get to the bottom of this," said the witness.

Ambrin also talked about the meeting on Feb 24, 2016 with top government officials and 1MDB's then-chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy to amend and destroy the original audit report of the scandal-ridden fund.

"On Feb 24, 2016, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa instructed me and [former National Audit Department director of audit] Saadatul Nafisah to attend the meeting, while the rest of the 1MDB audit team were instructed to wait outside of the meeting room.

"In the meeting, [Najib's former private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Salleh] said the audit report prepared by the National Audit Department (NAD) can be politicised by the opposition. I was also briefed that 1MDB management, led by Arul Kanda, will be able to respond to our audit report," he said.

Ambrin also said that during the meeting, NAD was pressured to listen to the response from 1MDB about its findings.

"Arul Kanda expressed many opinions on the matter of two version of financial statements produced by 1MDB, and pressured NAD to not include this matter in the audit report," he testified.

"I have no intention to hide but agreed to not include this into the final audit report based on Datuk Seri Najib's promise to report this to the police," he said.

Ali Hamsa had also testified earlier that the meeting had concluded that the Ministry of Finance Inc should lodge the police report on the matter.

Following that, he instructed former Finance Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Isa Hussain to lodge the report as the Ministry of Finance Inc comes under its purview.

However, Ali said he found out that in the end, no report was lodged on the matter.

Prior to the meeting, Ambrin said Shukry called him, saying that Najib had asked for a copy of the NAD's final draft of the 1MDB audit report.

"I thought this was not an issue, because it is normal practice for the final draft to be distributed to the chief secretary, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and Cabinet ministers. This is so that they are ready to give explanation to the Public Accounts Committee," he said.

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