Bid for joint trial of Rosmah's money laundering, graft cases to be heard on May 24

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 8): The High Court has today fixed May 24 to hear the prosecution's application for a joint trial of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's money laundering and RM1.5 million solar project bribery cases with her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor's solar project graft case.

Rosmah is facing 17 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).

High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set the hearing date when these three cases were called up for mention today. The Attorney General's Chambers had previously made an oral application for a joint trial of the three cases.

Lawyers Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and Manjeet Singh Dhillon, who acted for Rosmah, raised concerns on the prosecution's application for a joint trial as the defence thinks the High Court should have waited for Rosmah's second solar project bribery case to be brought before Justice Zaini first.

Akberdin and Dhillon raised the concerns after the prosecution indicated to the court that they wanted a joint trial involving Rosmah's first and second solar bribery and money laundering cases with Rizal's solar project graft case.

The defence lawyers said the prosecution should make the joint trial application after High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali decides on the application filed by the prosecution to have Rosmah's second solar bribery case transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court, and after the case is heard before Justice Zaini.

Akberdin said Justice Nazlan fixed May 28 to hear the prosecution's application to transfer Rosmah's second solar project bribery case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Akberdin also told the High Court that the defence team has filed an appeal against High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah's decision which allowed the prosecution's application to transfer Rosmah's first solar bribery case from Sessions Court to the High Court.

Akberdin said the Court of Appeal had set May 31 for the hearing of the appeal.

According to Akberdin, the defence also filed another appeal yesterday against Justice Sequerah's decision which allowed the prosecution to transfer the same case to Justice Zaini's court. However, no hearing date has been fixed yet, Akberdin said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar told the High Court that the prosecution does not intend to hide anything or make things difficult for other parties.

After hearing the prosecution's and defence's arguments, Justice Zaini ruled that he would like to proceed with the hearing of the joint trial application.

"On my part, I'm quite prepared to hear it twice. I'd like this to move on," he said.

On Nov 15 last year, Rosmah pleaded not guilty to two counts of receiving bribes, totalling RM1.5 million, in the implementation of the solar project, which involved the supply and installation of solar energy at 369 rural schools in Sarawak two years ago.

On the same day, Rizal, 46, pleaded not guilty to four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes for himself and Rosmah, amounting to RM5.5 million, involving the supply of equipment and installation of the solar hybrid system for rural schools in Sarawak.

They were charged under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009. They face imprisonment for 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.

On April 10, 2019, Rosmah was again charged in the Sessions Court for receiving a RM5 million bribe in connection with the same project.

On the money laundering case, Rosmah pleaded not guilty to the 17 charges over some RM7.1 million allegedly transferred into her personal bank account between 2013 and 2017.