13 December 2018

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has charged former 1MDB executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy (in the picture above) over his role in the alleged tampering with of the state investment fund’s audit report. He was accused of abetting former prime minister Najib Razak in the offence. The court allowed bail of RM500,000 with one surety. Arul was also told to surrender his passport pending disposal of the case. Former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak was charged with using his position as prime minister to obtain gratification for himself, to evade any possible disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB. He ordered the alteration before the report was tabled at the Public Accounts Committee.

The amendment required by the former prime minister was to exclude mention of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s presence at a 1MDB board meeting as well as a paragraph containing two versions of the 1MDB financial statement for the year ended 2014.

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah claimed, Najib’s lawyer, claimed that the amendments required by his client was to a draft report but not the final report. He also said that former auditor-general Ambrin Buang had said no one gave him any orders to amend the report on 1MDB which he had prepared. Free Malaysia Today reported.

Former auditor general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, who had signed off on the final 1MDB report, said that the 10 changes were made in the draft were irrelevant and made no effect towards the probe. New Straits Times reported.

The Public Accounts Committee has stopped its own investigations as the matter is now in the courts.

In another interesting twist, Department of Justice (DoJ) revealed that one of the department’s own employee, George Higginbotham, a senior congressional affairs specialist, has admitted to having been bribed by ‘the prime architect of 1MDB’ to influence decisions at the DOJ itself and to deceive banks. The court papers make clear the term ‘prime architect’ refers to fugitive financier Jho Low, who has engaged numerous agencies, lawyers and PR firms to advocate his position or his boss, ex-Malaysian PM, Najib Razak. Sarawak Report said.

DoJ had filed civil lawsuits stating that billions of dollars were diverted from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, and that about $1 billion made its way into Najib’s personal bank accounts.