KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be tried together over allegations of tampering a final audit report on the state fund.
Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi allowed the prosecution’s request to have Arul’s case heard with Najib’s.
The court yesterday heard the application to have a joint trial by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.
Lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan, who represented Arul, did not object to the request. The charge against Arul, who allegedly abetted Najib, was read again to him.
Arul then pleaded not guilty. The court fixed March 1 for mention.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Sri Ram informed the court that the prosecution would apply for the case to be transferred to the High Court.
On Dec 12 last year, Arul was charged with abetting Najib, who allegedly used his position as the then prime minister to gain protection from a civil disciplinary action relating to 1MDB by way of ordering the final audit report on 1MDB to be tampered with before it was finalised and presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The charge under Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act carries a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
On the same day, Najib pleaded not guilty at a separate Sessions Court over similar allegations.
According to the charge sheet, Najib had used his position to gain protection from any action, whether disciplinary, civil or criminal, with regards to 1MDB by way of ordering the final audit report on 1MDB to be tampered before it was finalised and presented to the PAC.
Arul and Najib allegedly committed the offence at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and Feb 26, 2016.
The charge under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act carries a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.