May 22, 2024

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Solar project: Rosmah to know whether she needs to enter defense on Thursday


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — This Thursday, all eyes will be on Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as the High Court here will decide whether to acquit her or call her to enter defence in her corruption case relating to the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Rosmah, 69, the wife of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is facing one charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings former managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin.

If ordered to enter her defense, Rosmah has three options – either keep quiet and not answer to the charges, give an unsworn statement from the dock without being cross-examined by the prosecution, or testify under oath on the witness stand with the prosecution given the opportunity to question her during cross-examination.

The prosecution had on Dec 11 last year, wrapped up its case against Rosmah after calling 23 witnesses in the trial which started on Feb 5 the same year.


Among the witnesses called were Saidi, Rosmah’s former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor, former Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and the ministry’s then secretary-general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamed.

Rosmah was initially supposed to be tried with Rizal, 46, who was charged with four counts of soliciting and receiving bribes on her behalf over the solar project.

However, the court had, on Jan 8 last year, acquitted Rizal of the charges after the prosecution withdrew all four charges against him. He then became a key prosecution witness.

Rosmah had, on Nov 15, 2018, pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to two corruption charges.

On the first count, she was charged with dishonestly soliciting for herself, made through Rizal, a gratification of RM187.5 million, which is 15 per cent of the value of the contract for the project, from Saidi.

It was as an inducement to help the company (Jepak Holdings) to secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth RM1.25 billion through direct negotiation from the Education Ministry.

She was charged with committing the offence at Lygon Cafe’, G-24, Ground Floor, Sunway Putra Mall, 100, Jalan Putra, Chow Kit, here between March and April 2016.

On the second count, Rosmah was charged with dishonestly receiving for herself RM1.5 million from Saidi for the same purpose at ‪her residence in Jalan ‪Langgak ‪Duta, ‪Taman ‪Duta, here on Sept 7, 2017.

On April 10, 2019, Rosmah was charged again in the Sessions Court here with accepting gratification of RM5 million from Saidi through Rizal for helping Jepak Holdings to secure the same project on Dec 20, 2016, at Seri Perdana residence in Putrajaya.

The charges framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

All the cases had been transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court for trial presided by Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.