The Sessions Court on Tuesday (June 25) rejected a request by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s counsel for her to be excused from attending the case management in her graft case relating to an RM5 million bribery in a solar hybrid project.
Judge Azura Alwi ruled that Rosmah needed to be present for the case management, which has been set for July 24.
Rosmah’s counsel Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader earlier requested for an exception to be granted for Rosmah on the date, saying the case management was a matter of “internal formality”.
This, said Akberdin, was because an earlier date was set for this coming Friday (June 28) that would decide whether the prosecution’s application to transfer the case from Sessions Court to the High Court would be granted.
“There will be no ruling, and just to transmit the case to the High Court. This is just a matter of internal formality.
“Thus, we would like to request if our client can be excused,” he told the court.
Azura, however, said Rosmah could only be excused from attending a case management if it involved an exchange of documents between lawyers.
“I might allow her absence if it only involved the transfer of documents between lawyers, but this involves transmission of case,” she said.
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Farizul Hassan Bakri informed the court that the application to transfer the case would be heard by the High Court here on Friday.
Azura told both the prosecution and defence teams to be present in her courtroom on the same day (June 28) to brief her on the High Court application hearing and for the case mention.
Rosmah, she added, could be excused from attending Friday’s session.
Rosmah’s husband, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was present with her in court.
She has been charged with receiving a bribe of RM5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, 60, through her aide Datuk Rizal Mansor.
Rosmah was allegedly given the money to assist Jepak Holdings obtain a solar hybrid project for 396 rural schools in Sarawak through direct negotiation from the Education Ministry.
She allegedly committed the offence at her home on Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta, on Dec 20, 2016.
The charge under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 carries a jail term of up to 20 years with a fine of up to five times the value of the graft or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
On Nov 15, last year, Rosmah was charged with two counts of soliciting RM187.5 million and receiving RM1.5 million over the same project.
In October, she was slapped with 17 counts of money laundering involving around RM7.1 million under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.