KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be jointly tried for allegedly tampering an audit report on the state fund.
This was after the Sessions Court today granted the prosecution's request for the case involving Arul to be heard together with that of the former prime minister.
Judge Azura Alwi made the ruling upon hearing the request by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, with Arul Kanda's defence counsel N. Sivananthan saying they had no objections.
Following the request, the charge against Arul Kanda for allegedly abetting Najib in tampering the audit report was re-read to him.
Arul Kanda, who appeared calm in the dock, said he understood the charge when it was read to him by the court interpreter.
Arul Kanda maintained his innocence and requested for a trial, before Azura set the case to be mentioned on March 1.
Gopal, during the proceeding, also told the court that the prosecution will request for the case to be transferred to the High Court.
On Dec 12, Arul Kanda was charged at the Sessions Court with allegedly committing the offence between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.
He allegedly abetted Najib, 65, in using the latter’s position as then prime minister to order the amendment to the report.
The offence was allegedly committed at Kompleks Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Putrajaya.
If convicted under Section 24 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, Arul Kanda faces a maximum 20-year jail term, and a fine no less than five times the graft involved or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
He was released on a RM500,000 bail.
On Nov 25, Auditor-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad said Najib had instructed for amendments to be made to the 1MDB final audit report, with the exclusion of several paragraphs in the report.
Among the information allegedly excluded from the report include the presence of fugitive entrepreneur Low Taek Jho or Jho Low in a 1MDB board meeting.