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Arul Kanda unaware of Judge Nazlan’s involvement in 1MDB’s loan (Updated)

Arul Kanda unaware of Judge Nazlan’s involvement in 1MDB’s loan (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former chief executive officer (CEO) of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Arul Kanda Kandasamy(pix) today told the High Court here that he had no personal knowledge about the involvement of the then High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in the RM4.17 billion loan to the sovereign wealth fund.

In fact, Arul Kanda said he never directly met Mohd Nazlan, who was the then general legal counsel of Maybank Group.

Judge Mohd Nazlan, who is now a Court of Appeal judge, was the one who convicted and sentenced former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to 12 years’ jail and RM210 million fine for misappropriating RM42 million of SRC International Bhd funds on July 28, 2020.

The 15th prosecution witness said that in relation to the loan 1MDB took from Maybank, he always dealt with other bankers such as Michael Oh-Lau.

He said this during cross-examination by Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the trial of Najib and Arul Kanda for alleged tampering with the 1MDB final audit report.

Muhammad Shafee: Did any of these officers make you aware that they would have to get the go-ahead from their bosses?

Arul Kanda: Not directly…I was a banker. Before, if you had discussions on one level and within the bank, they would have to go through their own approval process.

Muhammad Shafee: In terms of legal, who was the general legal counsel for the Maybank Group?

Arul Kanda: Nazlan. I’m unsure of the full name.

Muhammad Shafee: Was it Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali?

Arul Kanda: Yes, (but) I have never met him before.

Muhammad Shafee: I suggest that a loan of this size must get approval from the legal side of the bank.

Arul Kanda: I presume so.

During re-examination by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, the witness said he had no knowledge of Mohd Nazlan’s involvement in the loan process.

Sri Ram: It was suggested to you by the defence that Mohd Nazlan had a hand in this (loan to 1MBD)?

Arul Kanda said: Yes.

Sri Ram: Do you have personal knowledge of this (Mohd Nazlan had a hand in this loan to 1MBD)?

Arul Kanda: No.

During today’s proceedings, Arul Kanda also told the court that the former 1MDB chief financial officer Azmi Tahir had suppressed information from reaching the National Audit Department (NAD) when the sovereign wealth fund was in the process of being audited in 2015.

Arul Kanda further said that he was not responsible for the day-to-day operations of 1MDB, nor directly corresponded with NAD for the audit process as such tasks were Azmi’s responsibilities.

Najib, 69, who is now serving his 12-year jail term in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, 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, while Arul Kanda is charged with abetting Najib in making the amendments to the report to protect Najib from being subjected to action.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Prime Minister’s Department Complex, Federal Government Administrative Centre, Federal Territory of Putrajaya between Feb 22 and 26, 2016.

Both of them were charged under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act 2009, which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

The hearing before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues on Sept 2. –Bernama