1MDB Audit Trial: Day One

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Najib ordered Jho Low’s name removed from final audit report.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister allegedly ordered a paragraph of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial statement to be deleted from the 1MDB Audit Report, the High Court was told yesterday.

According to Annexure A of the amended charge read by the court interpreter, Najib was also accused of directing the name of fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho or Jho Low who was present in the 1MDB special board of directors meeting dated Sept 26 2009 not to be recorded in the meeting attendance list even though he was present.

The annexure also among others stated that Najib allegedly ordered amendment on paragraph 2.1.3 of the report by stating that the Terengganu Investment Authority Berhad (TIA) board of directors signed by former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi and former TIA director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail continued with issuing Islamic Medium Term Notes (IMTN).

However, the original report stated that the issuance of IMTN was censured by various parties among them, MB Terengganu Incorporated which warned via a letter dated May 29 2009 to Ambank which was also charged being involved in the misconduct and non-conformity during the issuance of IMTN.

Najib as Prime Minister and Finance Minister then allegedly ordered paragraph 2.1.6 and 2.1.7 in the report to be deleted.

Among the content of the two paragraphs ordered to be deleted stated that Shahrol Azral admitted the IMTN bond issuance had to go on because of agreement programme signed on May 15 2009 which is a bought deal in which Ambank was the lead arranger and primary subscriber, had received subscription from the secondary market for the bond issuance.

The Pekan MP was also accused of ordering the entire paragraph 4.2 entitled ‘Submission of Different Financial Statements’ in the report to be deleted when the original report stated that 1MDB has to submit a copy of its audited financial statement to its shareholder, which is Finance Minister Incorporated (MKD).

The content of the paragraph ordered to be deleted among others stated that in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting on Dec 18, 2015, a PAC member raised the issue of whether there would be two versions of 1MDB financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2014, submitted to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and the financial institution lending to the company.

In the paragraph ordered deleted also stated that the financial statement audited in which the Auditor’Report by Deloitte was issued on Nov 5 2014 but a review of the National Audit Department (JAN) found several discrepancies between the financial statement submitted by 1MDB to SSM with copies sent to MKD and the financial institution.

Najib was also charged with ordering the word ‘the Group’ in the Deloitte Auditor’s Report be amended to refer to 1MDB in the paragraph ‘Available-For-Sales-Investments- Investment in segregated portfolio company’ to SSM while Brazen referred to a company, Brazen Sky Ltd which was set up by Jho Low in the same paragraph to MKD and the financial institution.

Najib was also accused of ordering the delete of a sentence in the paragraph which states that ‘there were significant differences between the two financial statements and the authorities should investigate further the differences.’

However, Najib pleaded not guilty to the amended charges which is abusing his position by ordering 1MDB Final Audit Report to be amended as in Annexure A before being tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to prevent any actions against him.

He was charged as an officer of the public body, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, using his office to obtain a bribe for himself, protection from disciplinary, civil or criminal acts related to 1MDB, by taking action on directing the 1MDB Auditing Final Report, which is being prepared for amendment before the report, was finalised and presented to the PAC, which the accused had direct interest.

The amendment to the charges was added to Annexure A by stating the details of the paragraphs ordered to be deleted and amended.

Former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy also pleaded not guilty to charges of colluding with Najib over the similar offences.

The charges against them were read separately by the court’s interpreter. Both Najib and Arul Kanda said, “Understand and claim trial”.

Yesterday was the first day of the Najib and Arul Kanda’s trial after Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan rejected the former Prime Minister’s application to postpone the trial.

The hearing continues today.