KUALA LUMPUR — Nov. 21, 2019: The audit report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad and its companies took a year instead of five months because of the difficulty in accessing information.
The audit was undertaken by the National Audit Department (NAD) on the instruction of the Cabinet. Further to that, former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang ordered the report to be placed under the Official Secrets Act to avoid a leak as had happened with the Public Accounts Committee secretariat.
Despite being undertaken by 12 NAD officers, the audit took almost a year because the department faced limitations in getting original and important documents, were given late or none at all by 1MDB.
During examination-in-chief by prosecutor Rozaliana Zakaria, Ambrin said that among the important documents unavailable were the group’s management accounts as well as account statements from foreign banks.
Computers and servers at 1MDB were inaccessible to the department.
Ambrin was testifying at the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy over tampering of the 1MDB final audit report. Kandasamy is charged for abetting Najib.
An NAD officer today also related how she thought Ambrin seemed very upset after a coordination meeting and after noticing something was not right with him, she decided to escort him to the rest-room.
According to audit director Nor Salwani Muhammad, she became worried after observing Ambrin’s extremely fragile state.
“He appeared extremely fragile and I was afraid he might collapse so I followed him right to the rest-room,” said Nor Salwani.
She also recalled Ambrin mumbling and saying “What is the point of an audit.
Nor Salwani had placed a voice recorder into the pencil case of another NAD officer at the meeting, Saadatul Nafisah Bashir Ahmad, without her knowledge just before the meeting started.
She did this so that she will be able to prepare the minutes since she was not allowed to sit in.
“I was appointed coordinator of the meeting and due to this I needed to know what was being discussed.
“Saadatul Nafisah had no knowledge I had kept a voice recorder in her pencil case.”
An audio recording of the meeting was played in court yesterday.
The trial before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues next Wednesday.