KJ: Disappointing if 1MDB audit report was really tampered with

KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a disappointment if embattled former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is facing graft charges, had indeed ordered the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report to be tampered with, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

"If there is an order to erase Jho Low's attendance at 1MDB board meetings, then it is a serious move which is disappointing.

"So, we should wait for the outcome of the ongoing investigation," the former Youth and Sports minister said to reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Monday (Nov 26).

According to Khairy, the presence of Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, in 1MDB board meetings, was never reported to the then Barisan Nasional Cabinet ministers before.

"(In fact), many issues regarding 1MDB was never informed to the Cabinet," he added.

Khairy said that it is unwise to tamper with the Auditor-General's final report on 1MDB, as such reports must be free and impartial from any influence.

"In fact, during my time as a minister, my ministry was investigated and audited many times. We should accept that because it's a norm in the government," he said.

Audits are a must and weaknesses must be addressed, he added.

At the same time, Khairy, who was former Umno Youth chief, also said that there is a discrepancy between Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Auditor-General Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad's explanation regarding the matter.

"Najib had said on Sunday (Nov 25) that he had mentioned Jho Low's attendance in 1MDB board meetings through a parliamentary reply from the Finance Ministry.

"If that is true, then why is there a statement by Madinah saying that there were orders to tamper with the report?" he questioned.

"So, let's wait for further explanation from Madinah regarding this issue and also the outcome of the investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which had summoned a few individuals for questionings," he added.

Najib had served as finance minister from September 2008 until GE14, which saw the fall of the Barisan administration.

Last Friday (Nov 23), Malay daily Utusan Malaysia dropped a bombshell in a report, citing a few unnamed sources as claiming that Najib had ordered the removal of his and Jho Low's involvement in the audit report of 1MDB.

Madinah confirmed the claims by Utusan last on Sunday, saying two crucial deletions were made to the final report on 1MDB - one on the financial status of 1MDB and the other on the presence of Low at a meeting of the 1MDB board meetings.

Najib, through a statement issued by Dr Muhammad Shafee, questioned Madinah's motive in making the revelation following a briefing to the Cabinet on Friday, saying that it can be "interpreted as an attempt to influence public opinion and to prejudice Najib before his court cases".

Dr Muhammad Shafee clarified that the Finance Ministry had on Dec 31, 2015, stated that Low's presence during the 1MDB board meeting was to represent Prince Turki Bin Abdullah as the owner of Petrosaudi Inc.

Dr Muhammad Shafee also said that Low's presence during the same meeting was revealed and discussed in the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee on 1MDB on Nov 25, 2015, where the then auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang was present.

According to Dr Muhammad Shafee, it was standard procedure in any audit process for the auditors to ordinarily meet to discuss the draft report for clarification and to correct any inaccuracies before the final report is made.


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