Arul Kanda to be charged over 1MDB

PUTRAJAYA: Former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) head honcho Arul Kanda Kandasamy will get his day in court as he is set to be charged over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report tampering case.

The ex-chief executive officer of the scandal-ridden sovereign wealth fund spent a night in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday.

He arrived at the MACC headquarters at 9.30am accompanied by his lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan and was then formally arrested by officials an hour later.

At 8am today, Arul Kanda will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court where he will be charged together with former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

MACC said it had received the consent of the Attorney General’s Chambers to charge both Najib and Arul Kanda over the alleged tampering of the 1MDB final audit report.

“They will be charged separately,” said MACC in a statement.

Sivananthan told reporters that his client would face a single charge under Section 23 of the MACC Act.

The section relates to the abuse of power or position by a high-ranking official.

Najib, who is former 1MDB advisory board chairman, had already been arrested on Monday after he presented himself at the MACC headquarters to be questioned.

Unlike Arul Kanda, Najib was not detained overnight and allowed to be released on MACC bail.

Yesterday, Arul Kanda, wearing a black cap, nearly gave the media the slip at the MACC headquarters as he entered the building via a back entrance.

However, the media were quick to spot him through the glass walls of the MACC lobby as he was registering himself at the reception desk.

Arul Kanda was offered a RM5mil salary package for a six-month period from January to June this year.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in July that half the payment was settled between the period while the remaining RM2.5mil was supposed to be paid after June 30.

Arul Kanda was sacked on June 28, two days before his contract expired. His contract (from January 2015) had ended in December 2017 but he was given a six-month extension in January this year.

On Nov 25, Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad revealed that changes had been made to the 1MDB final audit report, which was submitted by her predecessor Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.

She confirmed that one of the changes made was the removal of a paragraph or paragraphs mentioning the presence of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, who is a wanted man in the 1MDB saga.

Dr Madinah said the directive to make the changes had come from Tan Sri Shukry Salleh, the principal private secretary to Najib when he was prime minister.

Ambrin, former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and ex-MACC chief Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad had all been called up by the MACC for questioning over the case.

Yesterday, Dr Ali was spotted arriving at the MACC headquarters at 9.30am.

An MACC source, however, said it was not related to the audit report tampering issue.