Rosmah’s trial: Defence lawyer claims Rizal the actual mastermind

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The defence claimed that Rosmah had been used as a scapegoat by incompetent people in the education ministry to conspire with Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s lawyer today contended at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur that her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor was the actual mastermind behind the solar hybrid energy project corruption case.

Akberdin Abdul Kadir, the defence counsel of the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, said the charges against her showed that it was Rizal who solicited and received graft money without her knowledge or consent.

“The accused’s defence is that the prosecution against the accused is selective prosecution, in mala fide (bad faith) against the accused, when in fact Rizal Mansor (SP21 or 21st prosecution witness) was the individual responsible and the mastermind (dalang) in this case, who was soliciting and receiving money, as laid down in the charges.

“Therefore, the prosecution’s action of dropping all the charges against Rizal and choosing him as prosecution witness shows clearly that:

  1. the prosecution cut a deal with Rizal
  2. Rizal as the crown witness has to give a false statement in court to trap and implicate the accused with the three charges
  3. If Rizal does not cooperate with the prosecution to charge the accused with false testimony, then the prosecution would continue with prosecution against SP21 with new charges
  4. This matter shows that the prosecution has mala fide against the accused and that the prosecution against the accused is baseless,” said Akberdin in reading out the defence’s opening statement.

The lawyer, who was giving his opening statement on the first day of the defence trial at the High Court on Tuesday (Oct 5), said his client was merely the wife of a former prime minister, with no executive powers in government.

“It is very unreasonable and unfounded to link the accused to the three charges,” he said.

Akberdin said there were parties that “name-dropped” Rosmah for their own political or personal interests.

Akberdin said Rosmah had never solicited bribes from Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin and his business partner, Rayyan Radzwil Abdullah directly or indirectly through Rizal and said the idea of contributing political funds to Barisan Nasional as means to show their gratitude to Najib Razak, through Rosmah, was solely Saidi and Rayyan’s idea.

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

Rosmah, 69, is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from former Saidi Abang, through Rizal, as an inducement to help the company secure the solar project through direct negotiation with the ministry.

She is also accused of two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM1.5 million in 2016 and another RM5 million in 2017 from Saidi.

On Feb 18, trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ordered Rosmah to enter her defence as the prosecution had established a prima facie case against her.

The prosecution had called 23 witnesses to prove its case.

Rosmah is alleged to have committed the offences at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra; at her residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta; and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya; between January 2016 and September 2017.

The charges, 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 up to five times the amount of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Earlier report: Oct 5, Rosmah’s trial: Rosmah tears into Rizal’s testimony