Arul Kanda claims trial to altering 1MDB report

KUALA LUMPUR: Another figure in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investigation, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, is the latest to be brought to court to face a criminal charge related to the scandal-laden state investment fund.

Wearing a dark blue suit, the former 1MDB president and CEO arrived with a smile at 8.05am amid a sea of pressmen at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex yesterday.

He was escorted by police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission officers.

Arul Kanda is charged with abetting former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Both allegedly used the latter’s position as the then prime minister to avoid action, whether disciplinary, civil or criminal, by ordering the final audit report on 1MDB to be tampered with before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Arul Kanda allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and Feb 26, 2016.

The charge under Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 carries a maximum 20 years’ jail and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if convicted.

The 42-year-old appeared calm and composed as he pleaded “not guilty” before Sessions court judge Rozina Ayob here yesterday.

This is the first time Arul Kanda was charged in court.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram offered bail at RM500,000 in one surety. He also asked the accused to surrender his passport to the court.

Lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan, who represented Arul Kanda, did not object to the bail amount.

“However, we ask for the amount to be split into two payments of RM250,000 today and RM250,000 tomorrow.

“The accused’s 68-year-old father-in-law will be the bailor,” Sivananthan said.

He also informed the court that his client had been jobless since May.

The judge allowed bail at RM500,000 in one surety without splitting the amount. The judge also ordered Arul Kanda to surrender his passport pending the disposal of the case.

The case is fixed for mention on Jan 4, next year.

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