Najib’s Cabinet agreed for Audit Dept to probe 1MDB accounts, Deloitte audit report in 2015, court told

KUALA LUMPUR : Cabinet ministers under then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed for the National Audit Department (NAD) to investigate 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) financial accounts as well as the Deloitte audit for the firm for any discrepancies, the High Court heard today (Aug 12).

Testifying as the prosecution’s ninth witness, Former Cabinet deputy chief secretary Tan Sri Mazidah Abdul Majid had referred to a March 4, 2015 Cabinet meeting minutes, where Najib had told the Cabinet in a special address that NAD will be reviewing 1MDB financial accounts along with the audit report on the investment firm conducted by Deloitte.

Mazidah continued to cite the meeting minutes where Najib stated he will also receive a separate briefing by Deloitte Malaysia country managing partner and 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy on the same day to take into account two different perspectives to determine whether there are discrepancies or wrongdoing in the firm’s financial governance.

In the special address, Najib had also stated that once NAD had concluded its review, it would table its finding to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) but stressed that the tabling of the report must be planned carefully to avoid certain facts or issues being “twisted” or be turned into a controversy.

During the meeting, the Cabinet had also agreed for Najib in his capacity as prime minister to issue an official press release, stating that all Cabinet members, after having been properly briefed by Deloitte and 1MDB representatives, were satisfied with the audit result and found no discrepancies in the firm’s financial governance.  

However, the Cabinet also agreed that legal action would be taken against those responsible if the NAD found any discrepancies, said Mazidah.

Mazidah, who was present at the meeting, was in charge of preparing the meeting minutes.

Previously, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, who was the auditor-general tasked with auditing 1MDB in 2015, had noted that the audit process for 1MDB started on March 9, 2015 and was scheduled to be submitted to PAC on February 24, 2016.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 12, 2021.― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court August 12, 2021.― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Ambrin had also stated that the audit for 1MDB was long due to a lack of cooperation from the investment firm.

This had then led to the 2016 meeting among stakeholders that had taken place at the office of the then Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, where decisions were made to remove or change certain parts of the audit report, including omitting the existence of 1MBD’s two conflicting financial statements for 2014.

In this trial, Najib is accused of having misused his positions as prime minister and finance minister to order for the 1MDB audit report changes to avoid civil or criminal action, while 1MDB former chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy is accused of having helped Najib commit the alleged offence.

By : DANIAL DZULKIFLY – MALAY MAIL

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