National Audit Department (NAD) staff, Nor Salwani Muhammad secretly kept one of the 60 copies of the original 1MDB audit report and this helped preserve evidence of modifications to the report, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard yesterday.
The report was prepared in 2016 and her boss at the time—auditor-general Ambrin Buang—had ordered the destruction of all the copies to prevent leaks.
As a result, only a modified copy of the report was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee.
“I kept the report to be given to the new auditor-general. With a pure intention, I had surrendered the report watermarked ’09’ to allow the new auditor-general to get the whole picture about the audit findings,” said Salwani.
That was not the only highlight of the case against ex-PM Najib Razak yesterday. The gutsy officer who was chased out of a meeting room had also secretly placed a digital voice recorder in a pencil box taken into the room by her superior.
Both the report and the audio recording were tendered as evidence in the trial against Najib who is accused of ordering the tampering of the audit report.
The two hours and 45-minute audio is a recording of a meeting on Feb 24, 2016, held by top officials from government and 1MDB.
She told the court she hid the voice recorder in a stationery case of fellow NAD officer who attended the meeting because her job was to minute the meeting chaired by the then chief secretary general Ali Hamsa.
Other participants included auditor-general Ambrin Buang, the then chief private secretary to the PM Shukry Salleh, former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Attorney-General’s chambers officer Dzulkifli Ahmad.
Ali Hamsa confirmed the authenticity of the audio recording and identified several voices.
Salwani, 52, told the court how her boss directed her to be present at Ali Hamsa’s office before she was unceremoniously asked to leave the meeting.
“Everything became chaotic. I was supposed to take down the minutes of the meeting for the Audit Department but they were asking me to leave the room,” she said.
She then said just before she was kicked out of the room, she slipped the voice recorder into her boss’ pencil case which was left partially open on the desk.
She also said no one had any knowledge of her actions.
“I played back the recording. We were shocked to hear what had been decided at the meeting,” she said, referring to the decision to remove portions of the audit report.
She later transferred the audio recording to a hard drive on a computer and a thumb drive.