Arul Kanda ready to testify in 1MDB trial, stands by statement to MACC

(FMT) – Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy is prepared to testify for the prosecution in the 1MDB audit report trial, says his lawyer.

N Sivananthan said Arul Kanda was standing by the statement he gave the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when investigations were launched into the purported “tampering” of 1MDB’s audit report in 2018.

“His position is that he is prepared to give (his statement) and he stands by what he told MACC,” he said when asked by trial judge Zaini Mazlan on Arul Kanda’s position.

Zaini then remarked, “in simple English, it means yes”, drawing laughter from the public gallery.

The prosecution said it wanted to call Arul Kanda to testify on its behalf as it said he had “information in his possession that is relevant to Najib’s (Razak) charge on the Feb 24, 2016 meeting and the events that preceded and followed after”.

Najib is standing trial for alleged abuse of power as the then prime minister and finance minister to obtain immunity from legal action and causing amendments to the finalised 1MDB audit report before it was tabled at a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting.

Arul Kanda is on trial for abetting him.

Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court that Arul Kanda’s evidence was “relevant because we need to prove the conduct of (Najib’s) corrupt intent”.

However, Najib’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, objected to the prosecution’s bid to call Arul Kanda, stating that it should have done so when the trial started in 2019.

Shafee said the prosecution was being “overzealous” to secure a conviction against Najib.

Zaini said he would deliver his ruling on June 24 on whether to allow the prosecution’s application to call Arul Kanda.

“In the event that he (Arul Kanda) is called or this application is refused, be prepared to continue with the trial,” he said.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said they were prepared to call the MACC investigating officer who questioned Arul Kanda if the court rejected the bid to get him to testify.

Jasmine Cheong also appeared for Arul Kanda.