KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak on Wednesday (Dec 12) pleaded not guilty to using his position to order alternations to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) final audit report.
Najib was charged, in his capacity as prime minister, with using his position to obtain gratification for himself, which was to evade any possible disciplinary, civil or criminal action against him in connection with 1MDB.
He allegedly ordered the alternations before the report was finalised and tabled to the Public Accounts Committee, which he had direct interest in.
The Pekan member of parliament was accused of committing the offence at the Complex of the Prime Minister’s Department between Feb 22 and Feb 26, 2016.
He was charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years' jail and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification, or RM10,000 (US$2,390) whichever is higher.
The court allowed Najib to be released on bail at RM500,000 with one surety. His case will be mentioned again on Jan 4.
Najib's lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, requested the court to allow his client to pay RM200,000 of the bail amount on Wednesday and another RM200,000 on Thursday, with the remaining RM100,000 to be paid on Friday.
However, Judge Azura Alwi rejected the request, saying that the bail payment could not be paid by instalments.
Arul Kanda Kandasamy, former 1MDB group president and chief executive officer also pleaded not guilty after he was separately charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Wednesday with abetting Najib in altering the final audit report.
He was granted bail of RM500,000 with one surety and was also ordered to surrender his international passport.
On Nov 25, Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad revealed that the final audit report on 1MDB had been tampered with and that Najib had knowledge of it.
She also disclosed that two crucial matters dropped from the report were regarding the presence of wanted businessman Low Taek Jho at a 1MDB board meeting as well as the financial status of the scandal-hit state fund.