Monday 25 Sep 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15): The High Court here on Tuesday (Nov 15) fixed Jan 30 next year to deliver its decision on whether to call the defence or acquit former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president and chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy of abuse of power with regard to the 1MDB audit report tampering charge.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan fixed the date after hearing submissions from the prosecution and defence.

The prosecution was led by senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, along with DPPs Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohd Mustafa P Kunyalam and S Deepa Nair, while Najib was represented by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Rahmat Hazlan.

Senior counsel Datuk N Sivananthan and Jasmine Cheong appeared for Arul Kanda.

Najib is accused of abusing his power to cause amendments to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee's final audit report on 1MDB between Feb 22 and 26, 2016, at the Prime Minister’s Department, in a bid to prevent criminal or civil action against him, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib.

The charge is framed under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009. If convicted, Najib stands to face a maximum of 20 years' jail, and a minimum fine of RM10,000 or five times the amount of such gratification, whichever is higher.

A total of 16 witnesses including Arul Kanda, the late former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, former auditors general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad, as well as former 1MDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh testified for the prosecution.

This is the second of four ongoing court cases faced by Najib, as the former PM is also facing the main 1MDB-Tanore criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering trial involving a sum of RM2.28 billion, along with three counts of CBT of US$6.6 billion involving International Petroleum Investment Company, and a second RM27 million SRC International Sdn Bhd money laundering trial.

The former finance minister is presently being jailed for 12 years and fined RM210 million with regard to SRC, formerly a subsidiary of 1MDB, after the Federal Court on Aug 23 upheld his conviction and sentence for abuse of power, CBT and money laundering.

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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