Tan Sri Ali Hamsa said he never threatened then auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang into amending or removing content from the National Audit Department’s 2016 audit report of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the High Court heard today.
Ali, who was the chief secretary to the government from June 2012 to August 2016, was testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the joint trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB’s former CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy over the alleged audit report tampering.
When cross-examined by Arul Kanda’s lawyer, Datuk N Sivananthan, Ali confirmed that he was the most senior civil servant in February 2016 via his position as chief secretary to the government.
Ali today reiterated that it was Najib who instructed him on February 22, 2016 to hold a coordination meeting to discuss the 1MDB audit report between the National Audit Department and 1MDB.
Ali had chaired the February 24, 2016 coordination meeting attended by top government officials and Arul Kanda, where Ambrin was asked to make various changes to the audit report on 1MDB.
Asked about the February 24, 2016 meeting, Ali said that it was left to Ambrin as the auditor-general to decide on the requests to remove content or make changes to the 1MDB audit report.
Sivananthan: At the end of this meeting, whatever decision was reached as to removal of paragraphs of the audit report, who made the final decision?
Ali: We just left it to the auditor-general to make?
Sivananthan: Was he pressured into doing that, did you compel him to do that?
Ali: No, Yang Arif.
Ali then agreed with Sivanathan that it was within Ambrin’s powers to say that he would not be removing information from the 1MDB audit report and that it was his final decision.
Sivananthan: Did you threaten him to follow whatever you said?
Ali: I never threatened him, Yang Arif.
Ali then went on to agree that there was no issue of anyone forcing or pressuring anyone to do anything throughout the February 24, 2016 meeting that he had chaired.
Sivananthan: There was never any moment during the meeting when you were there, Tan Sri Ambrin was told ‘if you don’t do something, it would not be in your interest?’
Ali: It was never told.
The February 24, 2016 meeting eventually resulted in the removal of four items from the auditor-general’s audit report on 1MDB, including mention of the existence of 1MDB’s two conflicting financial statements for the financial year 2014.
In this trial, Najib is facing the charge of having abused his position as prime minister and finance minister by ordering for changes to the auditor-general’s audit report on 1MDB before the report was presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to avoid any civil or criminal action against him in relation to his role in 1MDB’s company operations, while Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in the report’s tampering.
The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan resumes this Wednesday.
Jan 16, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Nine
Jan 14, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Eight
Jan 14, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Seven
Nov 29, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Six
Nov 21, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Four
Nov 21, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Three
Nov 20, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Two
Nov 19, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day One