‘What was the purpose of the audit?’ Witness says former A-G grumbled over changes to 1MDB report

Danial Dzulkifly
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex November 21, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Then auditor-general (A-G) Tan Sri Ambrin Buang appeared disturbed upon leaving a meeting with government and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) officials who sought to alter his audit report of the firm, the High Court heard today.

National Audit Department (NAD) director Nor Salwani Muhammad said this as the fifth prosecution witness in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s joint trial with 1MDB ex-chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy for allegedly tampering with the report.

During examination-in-chief by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, she recounted events from a meeting on February 24, 2016, the office of Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, who was then the chief secretary to the government. 

Sri Ram: Did you notice how Tan Sri Ambrin look coming out of the meeting? 

Salwani: He looked very upset with what had happened, he was mumbling something. So, I followed him to the toilet.

Sri Ram: So, he looked upset and then you followed him... 

Salwani: I followed him to the washroom, he wanted to wash his face and refreshed himself.

Sri Ram: Why did you have to do that? 

Salwani: Because I was afraid he might fall down because he looks very fragile at the time.

Sri Ram: He was upset? 

Salwani: Yes, very upset. 

Sri Ram: Who wouldn’t be under those circumstances. Did he say anything? 

Salwani: He was mumbling like, ‘What was the purpose of the audit?’ That’s what I heard. 

Previously, Ali testified that Najib, after receiving the draft of the final audit report on February 22, 2016, was unhappy over its findings and had instructed him to conduct a coordination meeting between 1MDB former chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy and the NAD to resolve dissatisfaction about the audit report. 

As a result, a meeting was held on February 24, 2016 meeting, which leads to four main items were removed from the A-G’s audit report on 1MDB, including an incident where Najib failed to inform the Cabinet over the agreement with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to delay a RM5 billion fund-raising exercise. 

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