KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will be jointly tried with former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arul Kanda, a court ruled here on Friday.

The pair faces charges over tampering with an audit report of the state investment fund meant to be presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), an organ of the Malaysia’s parliament, tasked with reviewing the country’s public accounts.

The chief prosecutor for the case applied to have the duo jointly tried after they had been charged separately in December last year with the judge agreeing to a joint trial and setting March 1 for the case to be mentioned.

Najib had been charged for using his position as prime minister to protect himself from ethical, civil or criminal actions against him in relation to 1MDB, by ordering the alteration of the final audit report before it was presented to the PAC.

He has been already facing some 40 charges related to corruption involving billions of ringgit besides the charge of tampering.

Arul, who was appointed as 1MDB CEO in 2015, was charged with abetting Najib in tampering with the report. The two had appeared in court and sat in the same dock and appeared calm.

National Audit Department Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad claimed in November last year that an aide to Najib had instructed her office to remove a paragraph from an audit report, which contains information including the financial status of the company and its board of director meetings.

According to the official, two crucial deletions were made to the report at the request of a private secretary of Najib in 2016, including deleting a paragraph that mentioned Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, who was reported to had played a central role in the 1MDB case.