1MDB Audit Trial: Day Seven

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“Dangerous material evidence” of two different account statements.

9.25am: Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is seen conferring with his lead defence counsel N Sivananthan while waiting for proceedings to begin.

Also seen in the Kuala Lumpur High Court is lead DPP Gopal Sri Ram.

9.34am: Accused former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak enters the Kuala Lumpur High Court and takes a seat at the front row of the public gallery.

Miera Zulyana

Also seen waiting for proceedings to begin are his lead defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and other members of the defence team.

9.44am: Najib and Arul enter the dock as proceedings begin.

9.46am: Retired National Audit Department (NAD) officer Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad takes the witness stand to testify for the prosecution as the seventh witness.

Previously, the court heard that NAD officer Nor Salwani Muhammad had slipped a voice recorder into Saadatul’s pencil case during a crucial meeting on February 24, 2016.

During that meeting, a decision was allegedly made to remove controversial parts of the 1MDB final audit report.

10.15am: The court hears from Saadatul that in February 2016, she sent a copy of the 1MDB audit report’s final draft to Shukry Mohd Salleh’s house in Putrajaya after being ordered to do so by then auditor-general Ambrin Buang.

At the time, Shukry was former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s principal private secretary.

“And thus, on Feb 20, 2016, I ordered Suraya Adnan, who was in charge of keeping the audit report’s soft copy, to print out the final draft.

“The printed copy was then put inside an envelope sealed as ‘Rahsia’ (secret) by her.

“Tan Sri Ambrin then gave me Tan Sri Shukry’s number, and I sent a WhatsApp message to Shukry where I told him that I received an order to hand him the final draft of the report.

“He (Shukry) then ordered me to send it to his house, and he gave me the address of his house in Precinct 10, Putrajaya.

“About 10am the same day, I went to the house and handed him the copy at the gate of his house,” Saadatul testifies.

10.29am: The issue of Jho Low’s attendance at a 1MDB board meeting was not raised during a crucial Feb 24, 2016 meeting, testifies Saadatul.

She tells the High Court that the matter was raised after the Feb 24, 2016 meeting when Shukry sought for the issue be removed from the 1MDB final audit report.

Rozaliana: In regards to the Low Taek Jho issue that was not discussed during the meeting, when did Shukry raise the request (to remove the issue from the report)?

Saadatul: After the Feb 24, 2016 meeting. I do not remember exactly, maybe on Feb 25 or 26. Shukry had sought for the removal of the Low Taek Jho issue as it was a sensitive issue and could be manipulated by the opposition.

11.25pm: Saadatul says then chief secretary to the government Ali Hamsa not to print the final audit report until Najib’s greenlight. She says that was on Feb 29, 2016, around 9.30am, while she was handing a draft of the 1MDB audit report to Ali at his office.

“He (Ali) told me not to print the 1MDB final audit report until getting an order and agreement from Dato Sri Najib.

“As far as I remember, Tan Sri Ali Hamsa told me ‘Don’t print the report until his (Najib) greenlight’.

“He (Ali) said that it would have a political impact on the country. I later informed Tan Sri Ambrin (Buang, the then auditor-general) and he (Ambrin) took note about the matter,” Saadatul tells judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

The 1MDB final audit report was printed in March that year.

11.37am: Saadatul wraps up reading from her witness statement.

11.40am: Saadatul testifies that the department’s original findings on 1MDB were supposed to have been tabled to the Parliamentary Select Committee in 2016 if the meeting on Feb 24 that year requesting for amendments didn’t take place.

She says this under examination-in-chief by Sri Ram.

For the record, it had been previously established in court that the meeting held at the office of Ali and attended by Ambrin, Arul and Saadatul, among others, discussed the NAD’s findings on 1MDB and decided for amendments to be made.

Sri Ram: (This was the document) ready to be handed to PAC?

Sri Ram showing Saadatul the original report marked as P81.

Saadatul: Ready to be tabled to PAC, not handed.

The witness, who had served in the department since 1979 before retiring in 2016, says that such meetings to amend an audit report prepared by NAD had never happened before in her career.

11.45am: Saadatul testifies that she did not know that a recorder had been placed in her pencil case before a meeting that discussed 1MDB’s audit report was held at Ali’s office on Feb 24, 2016.

Saadatul says that she only knew about the recorder after the meeting ended when told by Salwani.

11.47am: Saadatul says she was very frustrated with the outcome of the Feb 24, 2016 meeting on 1MDB’s final audit report.

“I felt very frustrated. We worked very hard, we were given the opportunity to discuss the 1MDB (audit),” Saadatul says.

She also says that she felt very frustrated as the NAD audit team, together with Ambrin, had raised various other issues at the meeting which were statements of fact.

12.23pm: Sri Ram seeks for the High Court to play again the two hours and 45-minute audio recording of the Feb 24, 2016 meeting.

The playback is to assist Saadatul when the prosecution asks her further questions during examination-in-chief.

1.10pm: As the court continues to listen to the audio recording purportedly from a meeting that discussed 1MDB audit report in Feb 2016, the prosecution asks Saadatul on a particular reference made by Ali.

DPP Akram Gharib points out to Saadatul Ali’s remarks where he referred to something as “a very dangerous material evidence”.

Saadatul then tells the court that Ali was referring to the two different account statements that was provided by the 1MDB to the Companies Commission (SSM) and Minister of Finance Incorporated.

DPP: Tan Sri Ali Hamsa saying: ‘A very dangerous material evidence’. What is the reference?

Saadatul: We have the evidence of the two accounts.

DPP: And that is the dangerous material?

Saadatul: Yes, and we can prove there are two accounts (statements).

2.06pm: Proceedings adjourn and will resume at 2pm tomorrow.

Earlier reports:

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