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Ex-1MDB CEO Arul Kanda to take stand as prosecution witness against Najib

Ex-1MDB CEO Arul Kanda to take stand as prosecution witness against Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed Arul Kanda Kandasamy as a prosecution witness in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit tampering trial.

The former chief executive of the wealth fund had all this while he attended court as a co-accused with Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the case.

High Court Judge Mohamad Zaini Mazlan today ruled that the prosecution’s application to have Arul Kanda take the stand as a witness under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Act was in order.

He said there was evidence to show Arul Kanda was privy to coversations with Najib in relation to meetings on the 1MDB audit which happened in 2016.

It was previously reported that the prosecution had applied to call Arul Kanda as a witness in the trial.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had argued that the prosecution wanted to call Arul Kanda to the stand as there was evidence the latter had attended meetings on the audit report, on Feb 24 and 25, 2016.

Following that, he said Arul Kanda was privy to all relevant conversations he may have had with Najib concerning the charge against the latter.

Najib’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had objected to the application, arguing that the prosecution ought to have made the application at the onset of the trial.

He said this would have prevented Arul Kanda to hear the evidence of other witnesses and to fashion his evidence in such a way that would absolve him from any liability to the detriment of Najib.

Shafee also said there is no guarantee that the witness would be telling the “real” truth and not the truth purely to please the prosecution.

This, he argued, will deprive the other accused of his right to a fair trial.

He also questioned whether the witness would be testifying favourably for the prosecution and would feel compelled to support the prosecution’s version of events to get a certificate of indemnity.