Najib and Arul case transferred to High Court

Arul Kanda and his lawyer N Sivananthan

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 14) :  The High Court today allowed the prosecution's application for its case against ex-premier, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president and chief executive officer, Arul Kanda Kandasamy regarding audit tampering to be transferred to the High Court.

This was following there being no objections to the prosecution's request by Najib's lawyers led by Muhammad Farhan Shafee and counsel Datuk N Sivananthan, for Arul Kanda.

Subsequently, High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali allowed the transfer.

Deputy public prosecutor Amir Nasrudin appeared for the prosecution in applying the transfer.

With this, all of the former premier's cases have been transferred to the High Court for hearing.

What will happen next is that the prosecution and defence will write and inform the Sessions Court of the transfer. A date will then be fixed by the High Court for Najib, who is also the Pekan Member of Parliament and Arul Kanda to come again to court to take their pleas to the charge and fix the trial dates.

On Dec 12, 2018, Najib claimed trial before Sesssion Court judge Azura Alwi to using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.

He was charged, in his capacity as a public officer, which was as then Prime Minister, of using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.

Najib was accused of committing the offence at the Complex of the Prime Minister’s Department, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and Feb 26, 2016.

He was charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 and faces an imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine of not less that five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

Meanwhile, Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to  disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with MDB, at the same place and time.

The charge filed under Section 28 (1) (c) of the MACC Act 2009 read together with Section 23 (1) & 24 (1) of the same law carries a similar sentence, upon conviction.