Crime & Courts

Appeal to challenge acquittal of Najib and Arul Kanda defective, says counsel

PUTRAJAYA: The appeal to challenge the acquittal Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Arul Kanda Kandasamy in the power abuse case involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit report is flawed.

The prosecution has yet to file its petition of appeal within the stipulated time at the Court of Appeal.

Arul Kanda's counsel Datuk N. Sivananthan, when contacted today, confirmed that the prosecution also did not file any application for extension of time to file their petition of appeal.

"They were due to file their petition of appeal by the first week of July and they have not done it yet," he said briefly.

Meanwhile, Najib's counsel Aliastair Brandah Norman told Malay Mail that the case will come up for case managmenet on Aug 30.

"This matter has now been fixed for another case management on Aug 30 either before the Deputy Registrar or the panel of the Court of Appeal, as we have taken the position that the appeal is defective," he said.

Alaistair confirmed that Najib has not filed any representation letter to the Attorney-General to ask for the appeal in the 1MDB audit case to be discontinued.

Lawyers Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Muhammad Farhan Shafee also appeared for Najib in this case.

On March 31, Najib and Arul Kanda walk free from the charges after the High Court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who has been elevated to the appellate court, said there was no casual link between the amendments made and the gratification alleged.

He said the former prime minister was merely concerned that the report could be spun politically.

He said Auditor-General retained the ultimate discretion of accepting any proposed amendments to the earlier report.

Meanwhile, Zaini said Arul Kanda was honest and consistent throughout his testimony.

He said Arul Kanda's testimony was compatible with the documents produced and the testimony of other witnesses.

Najib is accused of using his position as then prime minister to instruct for the final audit report on 1MDB to be amended before it was presented to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), while Arul Kanda, the former 1MDB chief executive officer, is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister's Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre, Putrajaya, between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

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