Arul Kanda Told Ex-1MDB CEO to Leave Country to Avoid PAC Meeting

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PAC hearings on 1MDB fiasco in 2010 and 2015 were a farce.

The former chief executive officer (CEO) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was instructed to leave the country by Najib Tun Razak’s office to avoid a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing in Parliament in 2015, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.

Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, 49, said the then 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy told him that the Prime Minister’s Office had instructed him to travel overseas to avoid the first PAC meeting.

Azman Ghani/The Star

The ninth prosecution witness was replying to questions from senior deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram on the 16th day of Najib’s 1MDB trial.

Sri Ram: Did you travel overseas?

Shahrol Azral: I flew to Singapore for one day.

Sri Ram: So, you flew to Singapore to avoid the meeting?

Shahrol Azral: That was what he (Arul Kanda) told me to do.

To face the subsequent PAC hearings, the witness said he was coached by Jho Low, who also arranged for him to meet with Barisan National (BN) members within the PAC before he was actually questioned by the committee.

Shahrol said that prior to the PAC hearing in 2015, a meeting was held at Ahmad Farid Ridzuan’s house in Sri Hartamas. Ahmad Farid was at that time in charge of Najib’s image branding.

He said among the BN members in the PAC he met was Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

“I was given talking points by Jho Low on the information to be covered during the PAC meeting. He had also arranged for me to meet with one or two BN members of the PAC before the actual meeting.

“I met Rahman Dahlan, who was a member of the committee at the time and we talked about the kind of questions the PAC would be asking,” he said.

Sri Ram then asked if the questions discussed with Abdul Rahman were the ones actually asked when he finally faced the PAC, to which the witness replied: “Approximately, yes”.

Sri Ram: Actually, what was the purpose of the meeting?

Shahrol: The meeting, prior to the PAC hearing, was to prepare me for the kind of questions and the post-hearing meeting was to discuss what the report was going to contain.

He said that during the meeting at Ahmad Farid’s house, he (witness) was told that Najib was being politically attacked over the 1MDB scandal and he was instructed to downplay any role Najib had in 1MDB.