KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy pleaded not guilty at the High Court here today to the amended charges related to the 1MDB audit report.
Najib, 67, and Arul, 44, each nodded and claimed trial after the charges were read out to them separately in Malay before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.
The judge ordered the charges to be read out to both accused after granting the prosecution’s application to amend the charges against them.
The amendments involved the words “yang telah disediakan” (was prepared) in the previous charge, changed to “yang telah dimuktamadkan” (was finalised) and also adding the word “semula” (again) to “sebelum laporan berkenaan dimuktamadkan semula” in both Najib and Arul Kanda’s charge.
Following the amendment, Najib, who was then prime minister and finance minister, was charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report which already “finalized” by Auditor-General before the report was “finalized again” and presented before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to avoid any action being taken against him.
The Pekan MP allegedly committed the offense at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya, between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.
He was charged under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
Meanwhile, 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 and in accordance with Section 28 (1) (c) of the MACC Act 2009 read with Section 23 (1) & 24 (1) of the same act which provides for similar punishment, if found guilty.