Prosecution files appeal in 1MDB audit tampering trial

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report tampering trial is appealing the High Court's decision that acquitted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

According to a source from the Attorney General's Chambers, the notice of appeal was filed at the Court of Appeal on Thursday (March 9).

Last Friday (March 3), the High Court acquitted both men after finding no prima facie case was established by the prosecution.

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ruled that there was no causal link between the amendments Najib had ordered and the gratification alleged.

Meanwhile, Najib's co-acccused, Arul Kanda, walked away a free man after he was acquitted of an abetment charge.

The court ordered for Arul to be issued with a certificate of indemnity for the "true and full discovery" of his testimony when he became a prosecution witness midway through the trial, which would hinder him from being charged for matters arising from the 1MDB audit tampering trial.

The prosecution closed its case on Sept 7 after calling 16 witnesses.

Witnesses included the late Tan Sri Ali Hamsa who was the former chief secretary to the government, former auditors-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad, former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Bakke Salleh, and former National Audit Department director Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad.

Najib, 70, was charged with abusing his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report to avoid any action being taken against him while Arul Kanda, 46, was charged with abetting him.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister's Department Complex at the Federal Government Administrative Centre in Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

Both men were charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, 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.

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