Najib-Arul Kanda 1MDB audit report trial resumes next week

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 28, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 28, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — The hearing for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s joint trial with former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy who are both accused of tampering with the auditor-general’s (A-G) final 1MDB audit report will resume next week, culminating in an almost full year of court appearances for the former prime minister.

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan finalised the trial dates after case management today.

The hearing dates previously allocated for this trial are from January 13 to 16 with additional days from March 9 to 11, April 6 to 9, April 13 to 16 as tentative hearing days.

However, the prosecution led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram informed the court that hearing dates in March and April would clash with Najib’s ongoing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial dates.

Mohamed Zaini said he was aware of this and would review it on the last scheduled hearing date for the 1MDB audit tampering report trial that falls on Thursday.

Both Arul Kanda and Najib were not present in court today.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 8, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 8, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

They were represented by their respective lawyers Datuk N. Sivananthan and Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

The Najib-Arul Kanda joint trial started on November 18.

So far, six prosecution witnesses have testified, including former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa and former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.

In this trial, Najib was charged with abusing his position as prime minister and finance minister to order amendments in February 2016 to the A-G’s audit report on 1MDB before its presentation to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to avoid any civil or criminal action against him, while Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in the report’s tampering.

Apart from this criminal trial related to the 1MDB global corruption scandal, Najib is also testifying as the first witness in his separate corruption case involving former 1MDB unit SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM42 million funds after his defence was called in November.

The ongoing SRC International trial is scheduled to run the entirety of February with the exception of two days for the 1MDB trial.

After that, the 1MDB trial hearings will then proceed for the entirety of March until October.

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