Monday 02 Oct 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7): The prosecution in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report tampering trial closed its case on Wednesday (Sept 7), with a total of 16 witnesses having testified.

The witnesses in the trial, which began in November 2019, included Najib's co-accused, former 1MDB president and chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

"We close our case. We offer a list of 18 witnesses [to the defence]," said lead public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.

The witnesses offered include former Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chiefs Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and Tan Sri Hasan Arifin, former director of the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) at the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and former 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

Also on the list of witnesses offered is The Edge Media Group chairman Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong.

Sivananthan is one of the lawyers representing Arul Kanda in the 1MDB audit report tampering trial. (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

Over a total of 43 days of the trial, the witnesses who took the stand included former auditors general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad as well as former chief secretary to the government the late Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.

Trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set Oct 7 for all parties to exchange submissions and Oct 14 for responses.

He also set Oct 28 for further oral clarification, after which he will determine whether there is a prima facie case against Najib and if the imprisoned former prime minister has to enter his defence against the charges.

In this trial, Najib is charged with abuse of power as a public officer in his capacity as the then prime minister and finance minister in altering the 1MDB audit report which was to be tabled to the PAC in 2016. This was so that no action could be taken against him by Parliament.

Among the items removed included fugitive financier Low Taek Jho's presence at 1MDB board meetings, and portions of 1MDB's 2014 financial statements.

Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib.

However, on June 24, Mohamed Zaini allowed the prosecution's application for Arul Kanda to testify as a witness under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

Mohamed Zaini also clarified on Wednesday that he will make his ruling on Arul Kanda's indemnity at the end of the prosecution's case.

This was so he could weigh Arul Kanda's testimony against all the evidence presented.

Apart from Sri Ram, the other deputy public prosecutors are Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohd Mustafa P Kunyalam and Deepa Nair Thevaharan.

Arul Kanda was represented by Datuk N Sivananthan and Jasmine Cheong.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Wan Aizuddin Wan Mohammed and Rahmat Hazlan acted for Najib.

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