1MDB Audit Trial: Day Nine

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Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral obstructed attempts to audit 1MDB.

1.55pm: Former 1MDB CEO K Arul Kanda enters the High Court and is seen conferring with his defence team before proceedings begin.

Also seen in court is lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram and other DPPs.

2pm: Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.

2.15pm: Najib and Arul enter the dock as proceedings begin.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

Also seen in court are their respective lead defence counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and N Sivananthan.

2.22pm: The High Court issues an order for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to provide a copy of its notes of proceedings of former auditor-general Ambrin Buang’s testimony for the parliamentary body.

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allows the application by Shafee.

Neither lead Sri Ram nor Sivananthan raises any objection to the application.

3.10pm: Former National Audit Department (NAD) officer Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad claims that a request by the then chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa in 2016 for the Auditor-General to consider dropping a part of NAD’s audit report on 1MDB was coercion for the department to do so.

Saadatul, who was the leader of a special team that performed audit on 1MDB then, says this under cross-examination by Shafee.

Shafee had asked her to tell the court how Ali had forced a decision on NAD to amend its audit report on 1MDB during a meeting on Feb 24, 2016.

Saadatul then says that the evidence can be found at item 325 of the transcript of the meeting, which was based on a secret audio recording made by another NAD officer.

According to the proceeding, Ali had allegedly said to Ambrin: “Boleh la ni. AG boleh guna budi bicara untuk drop (this can be done, the auditor-general can use his discretion to drop this).”

This then prompts Shafee to ask Saadatul how can this be considered a coercion when Ali seemed to be inviting Ambrin to consider.

“This is coercion. (Because) if we do not drop (the matter), this issue will be raised again,” Saadatul says.

However, Saadatul also agrees that neither she nor Ambrin had objected to Ali then.

3.17pm: Seventh witness Saadatul testifies that Ali did not directly asked for certain issues be dropped from the 1MDB final audit report.

“It was said in a good way. He (Ali) would not directly say to drop it,” Saadatul says.

4pm: Saadatul agrees that the audit report prepared in Feb 2016 was not final and can still be amended.

Shafee: Are you aware of the so-called final report, your own Ambrin (Buang) testified to Public Accounts Committee in 2018 that it was, in fact, a draft final report. It was not a finalised report. It was a draft final report. Are you aware or not?

Saadatul: Yes.

Shafee: So, he said it was a draft final report.

Saadatul: The report was not final, yes.

Shafee: (This) means (the report was) not finalised then. So, it can be amended. If it is not final, it can be amended.

Saadatul: It can be amended, yes.

Shafee: Provided that you are happy to amend it, Tan Sri (Ambrin) is happy to amend it. That is what the person being audited, and the auditor would do. You don’t compromise your position, but you can adjust as long as the integrity is not affected.

Saadatul: Yes.

4.07pm: Saadatul agrees with Shafee that former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi obstructed attempts to audit the sovereign wealth fund.

Shafee asks if Shahrol was constantly obstructive of NAD’s attempt to audit 1MDB prior to Arul coming into the company in 2015.

Shafee: I can show correspondence on how obstructive this man (Shahrol) was.

Saadatul: Yes.

Shafee: He obstructed investigation by the Audit Department?

Saadatul: At that time (when Shahrol was CEO up to 2013), yes.

Shafee: Shahrol objected so that 1MDB and NAD became acrimonious (during his tenure)?

Saadatul: Yes.

Shahrol was 1MDB CEO from 2009 to 2013.

4.10pm: Sadaatul says Arul kept promising to provide all information to the NAD for auditing, but kept the department waiting for months, the High Court hears.

“He (Arul Kanda) said no problem. But the information never came to us (NAD).

“I met him many times, but the information never came. I didn’t know to what extent is the cooperation.

“When we (NAD) met him (in 2015), he (Arul Kanda) promised us, he was CEO then, we waited for the information, but it did not come,” Saadatul says.

“He should have informed us rather than make us wait for months,” she says.

When Shafee asks if NAD finally received any information, Saadatul clarifies that Arul, in the end, provided 60% of the information sought for 1MDB audit by NAD.

“We did not get 10%, only 6%. It took a long time,” Saadatul Nafisah says.

4.20pm: Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan informs lawyers from both sides that he will be calling for a case management session, to be determined later, for them to discuss future dates for the trial.

He also informs the court that trial dates that had been set for March and April might not be applicable anymore, and he would have to discuss with fellow Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

Zaini then adjourns today’s hearing.

Earlier reports:

Jan 14, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Eight

Jan 14, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Seven

Nov 29, 1MDB Audit Trial: Day Six

Nov 28, Former A-G Ambrin Told That Tarnishing Najib’s Reputation Akin to Sullying Nation’s Image

Nov 27, Ambrin: I Ordered Auditor Salwani to Save Sole 1MDB Audit Report, Destroy the Rest

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