Najib lends wife moral support as she enters defence on graft charges

DATIN Seri Rosmah Mansor had her husband, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, by her side as he was ordered by the High Court to enter her defence on all three corruption charges relating to the RM1.25 bil solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Rosmah, 70, said she opted to testify under oath on the witness stand for her defence trial with the prosecution given the opportunity to question her during cross-examination.

Her two other options are either to keep quiet and not answering the charges or to give an unsworn statement from the dock without being cross-examined by the prosecution

Najib who was spotted briefly putting his arms over his wife’s shoulder when court was in recess, had sought “time-off” from his own trial in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore case.

Interestingly, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife Datin Seri Zizie Ezette Abd Samad were seen arriving at the court complex at 8.40am (the couple is also facing a corruption trial themselves).

Bernama reported that Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the ruling on Rosmah’s case after finding that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against her.

“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.

Justice Mohamed 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 is facing one charge of soliciting RM187.5 mil and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 mil from Bintulu, Sarawak-based Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s 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 bil from the Education Ministry through direct negotiation.

The acts were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra in Kuala Lumpur (KL); Rosmah’s residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta, KL, and at Seri Perdana, in Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and September 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 prosecution is led by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram while lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh is leading the defence team. – Feb 18, 2021

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