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Ex-PM Najib and former 1MDB chief Arul Kanda plead not guilty, could face 20 years in jail if convicted

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Najib Razak, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who used to helm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), were charged with tampering the final 1MDB audit report on Wednesday, December 12, at a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Both men have entered a ‘not guilty’ plea and have claimed trial.

Najib allegedly used his office as Prime Minister and ordered that the audit report concerning the controversial 1MDB be altered between February 22 and 26, 2016, at the Prime Minister’s Office, before this report was finalized and prepared for presentation to the Public Accounts Committee.

In the report, mentions of Malaysian fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) were allegedly removed.

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He is charged with violating Section 28(1)(c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and could face a maximum of 20 years in jail, plus a fine of five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever amount is higher.

Regarding bail submissions, the amount of RM1million was offered by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the lead prosecutor in the case. This amount did not go over well with Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who claimed that Najib has already paid RM5.5mil in bail for other charges, and because ex-1MDB chief Arul Kanda was only offered RM 500,000 in bail.

However, the Star Online reports Gopal reasoned that while Arul Kanda merely abetted Najib, the principal offender. According to the lead prosecutor, “Therefore, a principal offender is treated differently from the abetter.”

However, Judge Rozina Ayob set Najib’s bail at RM500,000.

Arul Kanda, along with his RM500,000, has been required by the court to surrender his passport to the court.

The case will resume on January 4.

Read related: Najib’s daughter comforts Rosmah on Instagram on her birthday, day of Najib’s arrest

https://theindependent.sg.sg/najibs-daughter-comforts-rosmah-on-instagram-on-her-birthday-day-of-najibs-arrest/

 

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