KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 19): Former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa (pictured) told the High Court that then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had expressed his dissatisfaction with the contents of the audit report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) which was to be tabled before the Public Accounts Committee.
Ali, 64, who is the fourth prosecution witness, said Najib called him on Feb 22, 2016 at the Prime Minister's Office.
"The purpose of the meeting was for the 1MDB audit report as he (Najib) was not satisfied with the contents of the report," he said, adding he did not know at that time what the problem with the audit report was.
Ali explained that though he was a member of the 1MDB board of advisors (BoA), he was never called to attend BoA meetings.
"Najib instructed me to hold a coordination meeting between the National Audit Department [and] former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy and other officers," he said.
"The coordination meeting was held on Feb 24, 2016 with 1MDB, [the] Audit Department, Treasury, the Attorney General's Chambers and the Prime Minister's Office to resolve the issue," he said.
In his testimony, Ali identified Najib and Arul Kanda, who are both accused of tampering with the 1MDB audit report.
Najib is charged for tampering with the 1MDB audit report via a meeting held on Feb 24, 2016 where four contradictions that allegedly do not favour 1MDB and him were removed.
Ali had chaired the meeting on Feb 24, 2016. Ali's senior private secretary Datuk Norazman Ayob was also in attendance.
Representing 1MDB at the meeting was Arul Kanda; from the National Audit Department was Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Saadatul Nafisah; Datuk Seri Mohamad Isa Hussain and Asri Hamdin represented the Treasury; Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad represented the Attorney General's Chambers; and the Prime Minister's Office was represented by Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh.
"During the meeting no minutes were recorded. I then let the members discuss on the issues arising from the 1MDB audit report," said Ali.
He further elaborated that Arul Kanda had disapproved of the matters highlighted in the 1MDB audit report by the National Audit Department, as they "were not factual and were merely heresay", therefore insisting that such matters be omitted from the report.
In response to this, Ambrin said there were difficulties faced by the 1MDB audit team throughout the audit process.
During questioning by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, Ali said Najib "looked a little upset" when he met the former premier on Feb 22, 2016.
He added that had Najib not ordered Feb 24, 2016's meeting, it would not have taken place.
Sri Ram asked Ali, who had been in the civil service for 38 years, if he had ever attended a meeting like the one held on Feb 24, 2016. The former government chief secretary said no.
Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in the tampering of the 1MDB audit report.
For more stories on the 1MDB audit report tampering trial, click here.