KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has fixed Jan 30 next year to decide whether former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be acquitted or ordered to enter their defence on the audit tampering case.
Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set the date after hearing the submissions by all parties at the end of the prosecution’s case.
The judge also thanked the prosecution and the defence for their oral submission.
The prosecution was led by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, while Najib was represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan appeared for Arul Kanda.
The prosecution closed its case last Sept 7 after calling 16 witnesses, including former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa (now deceased); former auditor-generals Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad; former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh and former National Audit Department (NAD) audit director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad.
On June 24, the court allowed the prosecution’s application for Arul Kanda to take the stand as a witness and give evidence against Najib in the trial under Section 63(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
The provision says that whenever two or more persons are charged with an offence under the MACC Act, the court may, on the application in writing by the prosecution, require one or more of them to give evidence as a witness or witnesses for the prosecution.
Najib, 69, is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him, while Arul Kanda, 45, is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report, to protect Najib from being subjected to action.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister's Department Complex, Federal Government administrative centre in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.
Both were charged under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act, 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. - Bernama