Tan Sri Ali Hamsa told the High Court today that he nor anyone else had pressured the National Audit Department (NAD) into making changes to 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) final audit report during a meeting on February 24, 2016.
The meeting in question took place at his office when he was chief secretary to the government and was attended by several senior government officials, including then auditor-general (A-G) Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, along with his staff, as well as 1MDB’s then chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy.
Ali, testifying against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Arul Kanda for their alleged role in tampering with 1MDB’s 2016 audit report, was quizzed by lead defence counsel, Tan Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on whether he or anyone during the meeting had threatened or pressured the NAD to alter the audit report.
Shafee: Did you or Arul Kanda or anyone from the prime minister department threaten Tan Sri Ambrin to alter the report?
Ali: Your honour, there was no threat at all.
Shafee: Did you threaten or pressure Tan Sri Ambrin in any way to amend the 1MDB report?
Ali: I did not pressure him.
Shafee: Did you feel if there was an atmosphere of pressure during the meeting against the two auditors, Tan Sri Ambrin and Nafisah?
Ali: I didn’t get that feeling of pressure or threat.
Shafee: Can you describe the meeting as cordial, as friendly?
Shafee: Putting aside the pressure and threat, did you ever direct the auditor general, Tan Sri Ambrin to amend the 1MDB audit report?
Ali: I didn’t direct him.
Shafee: Did anyone there, on behalf of the other non-audit department to amend the 1MDB audit report?
During the questioning, Shafee was referring to another NAD personnel, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, who led the department’s special 1MDB audit team.
She, along with Ambrin were the only two NAD representatives during the meeting.
Earlier in his testimony, Ali told Shafee that the meeting went well as attendees even laughed.
When asked by Shafee on how he perceived Ambrin during the meeting, Ali said that he had known the former A-G since 1981 and claimed Ambrin looked well and had no signs of stress.
Previously, Ambrin told the court that he had felt “frustrated” after exiting the meeting over demands to change his department’s finalised report on 1MDB that was about to be presented to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Saadatul and another NAD staff, Nor Salwani Muhammad had also noted Ambrin’s frustration as he exited the meeting.
In his testimonies, Ambrin repeatedly stated that the NAD was ready to present their original 1MDB final report to the PAC in a presentation that was already scheduled on February 24, 2016.
However, the report was then amended following the February 24, 2016 meeting where Ambrin said he was pressured and subsequently agreed to remove four main items from the report. – MMO
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