KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Another trial involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the alleged tampering of the final audit report of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is set to start in November.
This time, the former prime minister won’t be sitting alone in the dock. Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy who is jointly charged with tampering will accompany Najib.
High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set the trial dates to kick off from November 18 to 29 and continue from January 13 to 17, 2020.
The defence lawyers for both the accused did not object to the prosecution’s application for the joint trial.
Arul Kanda was represented by lawyer N. Sivanathan while Najib was represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Mohamed Zaini also set the case management date for August 29, in the presence of Najib and Arul Kanda after they maintained their not-guilty plea when the charges were re-read to them.
Deputy public prosecutor Fatnin Yusof said the prosecution would call about 30 witnesses to testify.
Najib was charged last December 12 with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was tabled to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action against him.
The Pekan MP was charged in his capacity as a public officer, which was as the prime minister, with using the position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB, by ordering alterations to the 1MDB final audit report before it was finalised and tabled to the PAC, where he directly had interest in.
Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in making amendments to the report to protect the Pekan MP from being subjected to disciplinary, civil or criminal action in connection with 1MDB, at the same place and time.
The allegations first came to light on November 26 last year after Auditor-General (A-G) Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad disclosed that two amendments were made to the audit report when her predecessor Tan Sri Ambrin Buang was A-G.
The amendments were the removal of paragraphs mentioning the presence of Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, at a 1MDB board meeting, as well as a change in the final status of 1MDB.