Monday, March 1, 2021

Ex-aide tells court of cybertroopers paid to back Rosmah

Rizal Mansor says some were paid RM5,000 a month from a monthly allocation of RM100,000.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur was today told that bloggers such as “Papagomo”, “Parpukari” and “The Unspinners” were among 40 cybertroopers paid by Rosmah Mansor to portray her in a good light on social media.

Rizal Mansor, Rosmah’s former special officer, said the three of them received RM5,000 per month from an allocated RM100,000 for nearly six years beginning in 2012.

“They were among the three or four team leaders of the cybertroopers team.

“There were also 12 to 15 bloggers who were paid around RM3,000, and about 30 Facebookers, all of whom were paid around RM2,000 each during the six years,” he said during cross-examination by Rosmah’s lawyer Jagjit Singh.

Rizal, who is the 21st prosecution witness, is testifying in the trial Rosmah, who faces one charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings ex-managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin.

Rizal earlier testified that in 2012, on Rosmah’s instruction, he set up the cybertroopers whose task was to monitor social media content and to fend off and provide explanations for every slanderous comment and accusation made against her.

Rizal, who worked for Rosmah from May 1, 2009 to May 2018 under the FLOM (first lady of Malaysia) division, later renamed the Special Division, said the cybertroopers operated on funds given by Rosmah, who gave him RM100,000 in cash every month for this purpose.

Here, Jagjit suggested that the monthly budget came not from Rosmah herself but from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) through the FLOM division. However, Rizal disagreed.

“I don’t know the source, but I collected the money from her,” he said.

When asked if the money had come from Rosmah’s bank account, he said he could not confirm this.

Jagjit also asserted that Rizal had not issued any receipts as proof of payment to the cybertroopers, to which Rizal agreed.

However, when Jagjit suggested that the receipts were not issued because Rizal had pocketed most of the money for himself, the witness disagreed.

To Jagjit’s next assertion that there would have been no need to set up the cybertroopers team if Rizal had done his job, he said this was subjective.

“I put it to you that you failed in your duty because you solicited corrupt money for personal use to support your lavish lifestyle,” Jagjit continued.

However, Rizal said he did not agree.

Rosmah was alleged to have received the bribes 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 gen-sets for 369 schools in rural Sarawak, worth RM1.25 billion, from the education ministry through direct negotiation.

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

The hearing continues before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

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