KUALA LUMPUR — Nov. 19, 2019: Despite being a member of the advisory board, the country’s then most senior civil servant was never asked to attend any of its meetings.
Neither was Tan Sri Ali Hamsa involved in the audit process of the company by the National Audit Department, nor asked to sign any documents.
This was part of Ali’s testimony today at the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is charged with using his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him. Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is charged with abetting Najib.
According to Ali, Najib was not satisfied with the contents of the audit report and this was related by Najib when he was called to Najib’s office in February 2016. Present at the meeting was former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
At the meeting Najib said he did not want two different financial statements to be submitted.
According to Ali, he noticed that Najib looked a little upset and after the discussion, he was instructed by Najib to call a coordination meeting with the department and Kandasamy. He was also told not to print the report until Najib had approved it.
Ali, who was in the civil service for 38 years until August last year, further referred to a meeting with Ambrin and Tan Sri Shukry Mohd. Salleh, a former principal private secretary to Najib, at which Shukry told them the audit report had become a crisis that had to be handled immediately.
Other points touched by Ali included the dismissal of former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and then attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail for objecting to issues on 1MDB, with Najib no longer having trust in Gani.
Also raised was the issue of fugitive businessman Jho Low being present at a 1MDB board meeting pertaining to the Islamic Medium Term Notes (IMTN) investment.
“It was raised in the audit report because the National Audit Department’s due diligence found that Jho Low did not hold any position nor played any role in 1MDB ,thus his presence was viewed as a red flag,” testified Ali.
Shukry then asked that the issue be removed from the report, taking into account the sensitivity of the matter and to prevent it from being manipulated by the opposition party at that time. Ambrin agreed, as was a representative from Attorney-General’s Chambers Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad and Kandasamy. Ambrin then agreed to have this point removed from the report.
The trial before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues tomorrow.