Najib, Arul Kanda 1MDB audit report tampering trial to resume June 15

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 20): The High Court here has set 15 days beginning June 15 to resume the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) former chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy on the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan fixed the dates — June 15 to 18, July 27 to 30, Aug 10 to 13, and Aug 24 to 26 — when the case came up for mention.

He also reminded the prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutors Rozaliana Zakaria and Nadia Zulkefli, to prepare the witness statements at least one week prior to the trial.

When asked on the number of witnesses to be called by the prosecution, Rozaliana said the defence had yet to cross-examine five witnesses, while there are 20 more witnesses yet to be called to testify.

Counsel Nur Syahirah Hanapiah is representing Najib, while Arul Kanda is represented by counsel Datuk N. Sivananthan.

So far, seven prosecution witnesses have testified, including former Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

Najib, 67, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

Both of them were charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.