KUALA LUMPUR: An audio recording of a meeting involving former top government officers, including then chief secretary to the government, auditor general and former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chief executive discussing the sovereign wealth fund's final audit report was played in the High Court today.
The two hours-odd recording was that of a meeting which took place at former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa's office on Feb 24, 2016.
Those present included Ali, his private secretary Datuk Norazman Ayob, former Auditor General Tan Sri Amrin Buang and one of his officers named Saadatul Nafisah, representatives from the Treasury Datuk Seri Mohamad Isa Hussain and Asri Hamdin, representative from the Attorney General's office Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad, representative from the Prime Minister's office Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy.
It was at this meeting a decision was made to remove four contentious issues from the 1MDB audit report which was eventually submitted to the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
One of the main points removed was the presence of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low at a 1MDB board of directors meeting.
On Tuesday, Ali testified that he had been instructed to convene the meeting as former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was not happy with the contents of the 2015 1MDB audit report.
In the audio recording, those present could be heard discussing issues concerning 1MDB.
At one stage Amrin and Saadatul can be heard questioning Arul Kanda at length on issues concerning 1MDB while Ali was heard saying something about national interest.
His statement could not be heard clearly as the audio recording was of moderate quality at best.
The judge, along with the prosecution and defence lawyers had to rely on a transcript of the recording to follow what was being said.
However, this too proved to be of little help as the transcript was apparently riddled with mistakes.
This was admitted by the prosecution from the onset and lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had undertaken to furnish the court with a fresh transcript next week.
In one part of the recording, Ali was heard saying copies of the 1MDB audit report should be shredded.
Later, when Sri Ram asked why he had suggested this, Ali said it was to ensure only one version of the report existed.
"In the end, there should not be two or three versions...only the final version which had been agreed on should be there," he said.
Ali was the fourth prosecution witness to testify in the trial involving Najib and Arul Kanda.
Najib, 66, is accused of ordering the 1MDB final audit report to be tampered with before it was presented to the PAC in 2016.
Arul Kanda, 43, is accused of abetting him in doing so. Both face a maximum 20 years' jail and fine, if convicted.
Meanwhile, fifth prosecution witness, National Audit Department director Nor Salwani Muhammad said Amrin had ordered for an audit to be carried out on 1MDB and its companies following a Cabinet decision for the department to verify the sovereign wealth fund's accounts.
The department was tasked to prepare a report which was to be tabled to the PAC.
She said a special team tasked to do this had sent a final draft for printing on Feb 20, 2016.
The trial before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues.