Rosmah ordered to enter defence on all three graft charges

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The High Court today ordered Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to enter her defence on all three corruption charges relating to the RM1.25-billion solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the ruling after finding that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against Rosmah, 69, the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“On the maximum evaluation of the evidence, I find the prosecution has proven a prima facie case on the accused on all charges,” the judge said.

Zaini said the prosecution had adduced credible evidence to prove the elements under the charges, which if unrebutted or unexplained, would warrant a conviction.

“I therefore call for the accused to enter her defence,” said the judge.

Rosmah, who was seated in the dock clad in a baju kurung and scarf, did not show any reaction upon hearing the judge’s decision.

Yusof Mat Isa

Najib, dressed in a blue suit, was present in court to show support for his wife. He was granted time off from his own 1MDB graft trial to attend the proceedings.

Rosmah has three options after being ordered to enter her defence. She can either keep quiet and not answer 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.

She chose to testify under oath from the witness stand.

Prior to reading his decision, Zaini agreed to accept the prosecution’s application to have the “Can I advise you something” audio clip and transcripts to be admitted as evidence, reversing on his earlier judgment made on the same matter on December 11.

Zaini said he was well within his jurisdiction to review and reverse his earlier ruling as the case is still in trial.

Earlier, the prosecution said it wanted to use the audio recording, which was released by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in January 2020, as proof of Rosmah’s “overbearing nature”.

Zaini then ruled he was “disinclined” to admit the aforementioned clips and transcripts as evidence.

Rosmah 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.

The bribes were allegedly received through her former special officer, Datuk Rizal Mansor, as a reward for helping Jepak Holdings secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project, as well as the maintenance and operation of diesel gen-sets, for 369 Sarawak rural schools worth RM1.25 billion from the Education Ministry through direct negotiation.

The acts were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra here; Rosmah’s residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and Sept 2017.

The charges framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, provide 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.

The court today set June 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 22 as well as July 12 and 15 as the initial dates for the defence stage of the trial.

The prosecution is led by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram while lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh is leading the defence team.

Sri Ram offered 10 witnesses to the defence and Rosmah’s husband, Najib was among the 10 in the list.