Rosmah’s bribery case starts in February

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 31, 2019.
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s bribery case over the supply and installation of solar energy at 369 rural schools in Sarawak is set to be heard in the High Court here from February next year, and is expected to run for seven months.

The wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be jointly tried with Najib’s former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor, who faces a graft case over the same project.

High Court Judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set the hearing dates yesterday after allowing the prosecution’s application to have Rosmah and Rizal’s charges to be heard together.

Justice Zaini, however, dismissed the prosecution’s application to have Rosmah’s 17 money laundering charges to be tried together with the solar bribery case for her and Rizal.

With this decision, the hearing of Rosmah’s money laundering case under the Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA) will follow after the solar power case is tried.

Justice Zaini ruled that the prosecution had failed to meet the requirement under Section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Code to have all three cases tried together.

He then fixed a 32-day trial period starting Feb 3 next year to hear the charges for Rosmah and Rizal’s solar energy cases. The dates for the trial are Feb 3 to 6, Feb 10 to 13, Feb 17 to 20, March 9 to 12, April 6 to 9, April 13 to 16, April 20 to 23 and April 27 to 30, 2020.

The court also set further case management for Jan 6 next year.

Former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who leads the prosecution team, informed the court that 17 prosecution witnesses will be called to testify at the trial.

For Rosmah’s AMLA case, the court fixed May 11 to 14, May 18 to 21, June 29 to July 2, July 6 to 9 and July 13 to 16 next year as the hearing dates.

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 power 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 RM5 million bribe in connection with the same project. The High Court is expected to hear the application by the prosecution on whether the case should be heard in the High Court on June 28.

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.

Rosmah was not present in court yesterday. She was granted permission for non-attendance when her lawyers submitted a medical certificate.

 Counsels Manjeet Singh Dhillon, Datuk K Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent acted for Rosmah in her AMLA case while Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and Datuk Jagjit Singh represented Rosmah in her solar energy case.