Former auditor general shocked copy of original 1MDB report was ordered to be destroyed

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According to the former AG, the 1MDB matter could not be raised even in government meetings in the past.

Saifullizan Tamadi/NST

Former auditor general (AG) Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad was today put under the hammer by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel in the former prime minister’s 1MDB audit tampering trial, with both of them involved in verbal exchanges over the manner she had completed her tenure.

At one point Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah accused Madinah of being ignorant of the law concerning the Official Secrets Act (OSA) after he earlier questioned her lack of qualifications to hold the post.

Madinah, the lawyer thundered, was the only AG who was appointed to the post despite her not having any accounting or auditing qualifications.

However, Madinah remained unfazed by Shafee’s pointed questions and she calmly answered the senior lawyer in a clear and loud voice.

On the issue of her qualification, Madinah acknowledged that while she may not have formal qualifications in auditing or accounting, she had been offered the post based on her performance serving in various ministries.

Madinah said she was appointed to the AG’s post in February 2017 when Najib was still the prime minister and held onto the post until February 2019

She said just one month into her post, she was shocked to learn that the audit report on 1MDB had been tampered with.

The 12th prosecution witness said Datuk Nor Salwani Muhammad, who was then one of the audit team members, briefed her about what had happened.

Madinah said she was shocked to learn that her predecessor Tan Sri Amrin Buang had been ordered to amend the audit report before it was given to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Salwani, she said, was also told to destroy the only remaining original copy of the report but the officer defied the directive and had kept the copy.

Shafee later grilled Madinah on what happened to the copy and the witness said she had kept it under lock and key in a safe.

Asked why she did not pursue the matter after that, Madinah said the report had been classified as an official secret and there was no further activity on the report after that.

Shafee then pounced on Madinah by pursuing on her lack of action to declassify the report.

Shafee: Your suggestion that everything about 1MDB was under OSA is nonsense. The whole world was talking about it but you say it was OSA, cannot talk or whisper about it.

Madinah: That was it at that time

Shafee: The whole world was talking about it

Madinah: Not in this country.

Madinah was testifying in the trial involving Najib and former 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy over the tampering of the 1MDB report.

Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib to commit the crime.

The trial before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues. – NST