Saturday 03 Jun 2023
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KUALA LUMPUR (May 26): The record of appeal in ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) president Arul Kanda Kandasamy’s audit report tampering case is ready.

The prosecution, who is appealing against the High Court decision in early March to acquit both men, can now file its petition of appeal containing the grounds it is appealing against.

The parties were informed of the matter during case management on Friday (May 26). Court of Appeal senior assistant registrar Nurul Azrina Mohamed Yusof then set July 21 for the prosecution to update the court of the status of its petition of appeal.

Both deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari and Arul Kanda's counsel Jasmine Cheong confirmed the matter with The Edge when contacted.

In criminal appeals, the court registry prepares and delivers to parties the appeal records, which would contain the notes of evidence, exhibits and grounds of judgement.

The prosecution filed its appeal on March 9.  

On March 3, Court of Appeal judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who presided over the case in the High Court, ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against Najib and acquitted the former PM of purported abuse of power charges.

Charged with abetting Najib, Arul Kanda was also discharged and acquitted as Zaini said he was satisfied that the former 1MDB president had made a “true and full discovery” of all things for which he was examined.

Arul Kanda, who was also the strategic development fund’s ex-CEO, had taken the witness stand last June after the High Court allowed the prosecution’s application to call him in as a witness.

The judge also ordered that Arul Kanda be granted a certificate of indemnity under Section 63(3) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act — the first case where a co-accused was offered a certificate of indemnity under this section of the act.

Najib, 69, was 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 prepared by the National Audit Department, which was to be tabled to the Public Accounts Committee in March 2016.

This was allegedly so that no action could be taken against him by Parliament.

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

The charge was framed under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009.

If convicted, Najib could have been liable to a maximum of 20 years’ jail, and a minimum fine of RM10,000 or five times the amount of such gratification, whichever is higher.

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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