‘Najib did not say which report was for audit’

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here heard that Datuk Seri Najib Razak never told former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang which of the two conflicting financial reports of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) the former prime minister wished to include in the company’s final audit report in 2014.

While Najib had never indicated which report he preferred, the Pekan MP told him that he (Najib) would “get to the bottom of the issue”, the witness said.

This was said during a cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at the 1MDB audit tampering trial here yesterday.

Shafee: Did the (former) prime minister say which of the two (1MDB) financial statements he prefers? If it is A, don’t put B, or if it is B, so don’t put A.

Ambrin: No, no... he never said that.

Shafee: He (Najib) just said that “I will get to the bottom of the issue”.

Ambrin: Yes.

In his testimony, Ambrin explained the two versions of 1MDB’s financial statement.

One version stated that 1MDB had used RM4.03bil in funds raised from the Segregated Portfolio Company (SPC) investment to pay off the company’s debts. This version was sent to the Companies Commission of Malaysia, he said.

The other version stated that the RM4.03bil in funds raised from SPC’s investment was still in 1MDB’s savings and this version was sent to the Finance Ministry, Deutsche Bank and AmBank, he said.

The issue of the two conflicting financial reports is one of four issues that was agreed to be removed from the final audit report.

Ambrin agreed with Shafee’s suggestion that Najib did not spell out specific instructions on the amendments.

He said Najib knew about the two conflicting financial reports from him.

“Yes, I was the one who informed him, ” Ambrin said.

Shafee: As a reasonable or intelligent prime minister, he (Najib) has to be concerned (about the reports).

Ambrin: Yes, he should be. It is a very important issue.

To another suggestion, Ambrin agreed that he was never pressured by Najib to do the amendments on the audit report.

But he said he felt pressured when he and his team from the National Audit Department had to look into the proposed amendments at the eleventh hour, which was discussed during a meeting on Feb 24,2016, despite the report being ready to be presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).The final 1MDB audit report was initially scheduled to be presented on Feb 24,2016, but it was rescheduled to March 2016 after amendments were made.

Najib, 67, is accused of abusing his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report to avoid any action being taken against him while former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is charged with abetting Najib to make the amendments to the report.

Both were charged under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

The hearing before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues today.

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