Witness: Najib requested 1MDB audit report

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has been told that the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report was the one special audit report requested by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for him to have a look-through despite there being other special audit reports.

This was said by former National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad during a re-examination by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram at the 1MDB audit tampering trial involving Najib and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy here yesterday.

Sri Ram: Has the auditee ever been given a copy of the audit before?

Saadatul Nafisah: No.

Sri Ram: Except for this one. How about earlier special audits?

Saadatul Nafisah: Before we give the report, we present it to the Cabinet (or those who requested the special audit), and after that auditee will get the report.

Sri Ram: So, a special audit report was given to the person acquisitioning the report?

Saadatul Nafisah: Yes.

The seventh prosecution witness told the court that a special audit report is one that is requested by the Cabinet or the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and not initiated by the NAD itself.

She said the 1MDB special audit was not the first carried out by the NAD as the department had done several special audits prior to 1MDB’s.

“There was one requested by the Cabinet on KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2),” she said.

It was reported that the PAC had proposed for the Auditor-General to conduct an audit of KLIA2 following its findings that the main cause of the problems in the airport was the massive increase in cost from the initial RM1.7bil to RM4bil.

Sri Ram: Who was the prime minister when that (KLIA2) audit was carried out?

Saadatul Nafisah: Najib.

Sri Ram: Did he (Najib) call for a copy of the (KLIA2) report or ask for changes to the report?

Saadatul Nafisah: No.

The court previously heard from Najib’s former principal private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh, 67, that in early February 2016, Najib had instructed Shukry to obtain the 1MDB audit report from the NAD and that the report “needed to be checked before it went for print”.

“This was because he (Najib) was concerned that the report contained nonsense,” Shukry had said in his witness statement.

Najib, 68, is accused of abusing his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report to avoid any action being taken against him while Arul Kanda is accused of abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report.

Both are charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides for 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 resumes on Nov 29.

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