Former auditor-general admits 1MDB report was amended due to requests by Najib-led government

It was also established earlier during this trial that NAD director (governance sector) Datuk Nor Salwani Muhammad had kept one of the six copies of the unaltered version of the 1MDB audit report which was later given to Ambrin’s successor, Madinah, for safekeeping. Source (pic): TTF Files

بكس كتوا اءوديت نڬارا مڠاكو لاڤورن اءوديت 1مدب داوبه اتس ڤرمينتأن كراجأن ڤيمڤينن نجيب

Former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang admitted to the Kuala Lumpur High Court that an audit report on 1MDB had been amended on his authorisation pursuant to requests by the then Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak led-government before being presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Ambrin is reported to have said this during cross-examination by counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the 1MDB audit tampering trial against Najib and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy. 

For the record, the prosecution is trying to establish that Najib took steps to alter or remove passages that concerned him from the audit report in a meeting held on the 26th of February 2016 while serving as Prime Minister.

Through the course of trial, the prosecution hopes to prove that Najib did what he did to avoid civil or criminal liability as a shadow director of 1MDB on account of having abused his positions to obtain gratification.


PETALING JAYA: Former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang admitted to the Kuala Lumpur High Court that an audit report on 1MDB had been amended on his authorisation pursuant to requests by the then Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak led-government before being presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Ambrin is reported to have said this during cross-examination by counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah in the 1MDB audit tampering trial against Najib and former 1MDB chief executive officer Arul Kanda Kandasamy.




“In this case, the Feb 24, 2016 PAC meeting was an important one, in the sense the government or PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) suggested to amend certain things,” he said before being cut off by Shafee.

The testimony came about as Ambrin explained why he did not agree with the use of the word “tampering” by his successor Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad in a 2018 press statement that describes changes to the report.

For the record, the prosecution is trying to establish that Najib, while serving as Prime Minister, took steps to alter or remove passages that concerned him from the audit report via a meeting held on the 26th of February 2016.

The prosecution claims to have evidence that shows the board and management of 1MDB were accustomed to act upon Najib’s direction.

Using the evidence and through the course of trial, the prosecution hopes to prove that Najib did what he did to avoid civil or criminal liability as a shadow director of 1MDB on account of having abused his positions to obtain gratification.

A report by the Edge Markets read:

Shafee read out a statement Ambrin had made to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during the parliamentary committee’s investigation into the 1MDB audit report tampering. 

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The statement read: “The accusation that there was tampering or unauthorised alteration is a serious allegation because it challenges my dignity and integrity as the auditor-general. It also questions the credibility of my colleagues in the National Audit Department (NAD) who had worked hard to prepare the (audit) report.”

“You remember making this statement [to the PAC]?” Shafee asked Ambrin. 

Ambrin responded by saying that he only disagreed with the term “tampering”. He said he had authorised the amendments to the audit report, following requests by the government, before it was tabled to the PAC. 

“My understanding of the word ‘tampering’ is there is an unauthorised situation. But in this particular case, there were amendments to the audit report and authorised by me. So it was not unauthorised. I appeared before the PAC to explain from my own perspective there was no tampering in the sense that it was done by others outside of my control,” he explained. 

Shafee: You were not pleased at all with any suggestion that your report consisted of some tampering?

Ambrin: I simply couldn’t agree with the word “tampering”

Shafee: You were also not happy that this matter was raised by Tan Sri Dr Madinah, your successor, without consulting internally with you and the team before she made it public?

Ambrin: Yes, I think I was surprised when she made the statement alleging that there was tampering. Because had she contacted me and asked for explanation, I probably could have explained to her what really happened.

Shafee: You were never consulted by her?

Ambrin: No 

In her press statement dated Nov 24, 2018, Madinah confirmed that the 2016 final NAD audit report on 1MDB was tampered with, and that orders to alter the report first came from Najib. 

It was also established earlier during this trial that NAD director (governance sector) Datuk Nor Salwani Muhammad had kept one of the six copies of the unaltered version of the 1MDB audit report which was later given to Madinah for safekeeping. 

The original copy was later submitted to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police for further investigation. 

Ambrin today also maintained that there were two versions of the audit report. One was the draft that the NAD was prepared to present to the PAC, and the other was the “final copy” after omissions of certain details, which is the version that was tabled to the PAC.

He said the fateful meeting on Feb 24, 2016 to review the audit report, which was called after Najib’s then principal private secretary Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh learnt about the draft report, was not common practice. 

Ambrin testified that Shukry wanted to make sure that the amendments were carried out so that issues within 1MDB would not be spun by the opposition at the time. As such, the former auditor-general felt the pressure to comply. 

“What I was not happy about was that (then chief secretary to the government) Ali Hamsa authorised Arul Kanda to sit down with my team and review our report, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, and remove references. This is abnormal,” he said.

“I find it insulting that the auditee (1MDB) is given the honour to review my report, page by page, paragraph by paragraph, so whatever opinion we expressed in the report will be removed.

“I was told to keep my opinion to myself and write a book about it. How could I be happy? In short, during the Feb 24 meeting, we had to do abnormal things beyond normal practice,” he told the court.

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