KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― The final 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report was classified under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) to prevent information leaks, former auditor-general (A-G) Tan Sri Ambrin Buang told the High Court today.
Taking the stand as the sixth witness in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s joint trial for the 1MDB audit report tampering, Ambrin said he had done so after an interim audit report of 1MDB was supposedly leaked in July 2015 by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee secretariat.
“There was an issue on the report being leaked that might have occurred at the PAC secretariat level.
“After the incident occurred, the Nationa Audit Department discussed with the Chief Government Security Office (CGSO) and CGSO have suggested that the 1MDB final audit report to be classified under the Official Secrets Act 1972 to prevent further information leaks.
“Therefore, I as the auditor-general have ordered the final audit reports to be classified as a secret document until its presentation to the PAC is completed in order to prevent it from being sensationalised prematurely,” he said.
Following the leak in 2015, on March 4, 2016, then PAC chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin explained that the final 1MDB audit reports were classified under the OSA to prevent further leaks.
The 1MDB final Audit report was also presented to the PAC on the same date for deliberations on what had truly transpired at the sovereign wealth fund.
Yesterday, National Audit Director (governance) Nor Salwani Muhammad revealed in court that the department destroyed 53 out of 60 draft copies of the 1MDB final audit report.
Najib and Ambrin were among seven other persons to receive the report on February 22, 2016.
In this trial, Najib is being jointly trial with 1MDB former chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy for their alleged role in tampering with the 1MDB 2016 audit final report.
Najib was charged with abusing his position as prime minister and finance minister to order amendments in February 2016 to the A-G audit report on 1MDB before its finalisation and presentation to PAC to avoid any civil or criminal action against him, while Arul Kanda was charged with abetting Najib in the report’s tampering.
Both their offences are punishable under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 with a maximum 20-year jail term, and a fine of at least five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000 or whichever is higher.
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