KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ordered the prosecution team in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)’s alleged audit report tampering case, involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy (pic), to speed up the process of handing the pre-trial documents to the defence.
High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan told the prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Rozaliana Zakaria, to hand over all the documents needed by the defence so that the trial, slated for Nov 18, would not be delayed.
“I hope the prosecution can hand over all the documents – as many as you can – so that the defence will have time to prepare (for the trial).
“I don’t want this case to be delayed, ” he said yesterday, adding that the documents should be given to the defence at least a week before trial starts.
He also set Oct 7 for case management.
Earlier, Rozaliana informed the court that the prosecution had yet to finalise the list of witnesses and hence the delay in the witness statement preparation.
Arul Kanda’s counsel, Datuk N. Sivananthan, handed in an expert report on the 2014 1MDB audit report – the one that was allegedly tampered with – to the court and the prosecution.
Najib was represented by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
On Dec 12,2018, the former prime minister was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
He was charged with using his position as prime minister then to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report.
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, upon conviction.
He was accused of committing the offence at the Prime Minister’s Department between Feb 22 and Feb 26,2016.
Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action.
Both pleaded not guilty.
The trial dates have been fixed for Nov 18 to 29 and Jan 13 to 17 next year.