Najib Razak. File Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today fixed 15 days beginning Nov 18 for the trial of the alleged tampering of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s  (1MDB) final audit report involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and 1MDB former chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan fixed the date after the case came up for mention.

Najib Razak. File Photo: Bernama

Earlier, Najib, 66, represented by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Arul Kanda, 43, represented by lawyer Datuk N Sivananthan claimed trial after the charge was read out separately to them.

“The trial is fixed from Nov 18 to 29, 2019 and Jan 13 to 17, 2020,” said Mohamed Zaini who also set Aug 29 for case management.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fatnin Yusof informed that the prosecution would call up between 25 to 30 witnesses.

On Dec 12, 2018, Najib was charged 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.

He 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.

The Pekan member of Parliament was accused of committing the offence at the Complex of the Prime Minister’s Department, Federal Government’s Administrative Centre, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

The charge was framed under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty

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 charge was filed under Section 28 (1) (c) of the MACC Act 2009, read together with Section 23 (1) & 24 (1) of the same law, which provides a similar sentence, upon conviction.

On Jan 4, Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi allowed the prosecution’s application to have a joint trial for Najib and Arul Kanda. – Bernama