Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Rosmah to take the stand in graft trial after court throws out bid for stay

However, court says she can proceed with her appeal against an earlier dismissal of her bid to nullify her corruption trial and remove Gopal Sri Ram as lead prosecutor.

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Rosmah Mansor will have to take the witness stand in defence at her corruption trial tomorrow over the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

This follows a decision today by a three-member Court of Appeal bench led by justice Kamaludin Md Said refusing to grant her a stay of the court proceeding tomorrow pending the disposal of her related appeal.

Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, was ordered by the High Court on Feb 18 to enter her defence on three corruption charges.

In the unanimous decision to dismiss the stay application, Kamaludin said the court was of the view that the proceeding in the High Court should be continued.

“In Najib’s case, it has been decided that the nullity of trial is not a special circumstances case. We are bound by the Federal Court’s decision of stare decisis,” he added.

Kamaludin however said Rosmah could still proceed with her appeal at the Court of Appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of her application to nullify her corruption trial and to remove Gopal Sri Ram as lead prosecutor.

Kamaludin said this would not prejudice Rosmah. However, he said the court hoped that the date of the appeal proper could be expedited.

The other two judges were justices Nordin Hassan and Hashim Hamzah.

Rosmah sought the stay order pending the disposal of her appeal against the High Court decision on Sept 24 dismissing her application to nullify her corruption trial and to remove Sri Ram as lead prosecutor.

She filed the two applications at the High Court on May 6, seeking to nullify her entire trial in a bid to be acquitted of all three charges and to remove Sri Ram as lead prosecutor.

Rosmah was charged with soliciting RM187.5 million as well as two counts of receiving bribes of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s former managing director, Saidi Abang Samsuddin, through her former special officer, Rizal Mansor.

These were said to be an inducement to help the company (Jepak Holdings) secure the hybrid photovoltaic solar system integrated project and the maintenance and operation of genset/diesel for 369 rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.25 billion through direct negotiation from the education ministry.

She is accused of dishonestly soliciting for herself, through Rizal at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra, Kuala Lumpur between March and April 2016.

For the second charge, Rosmah was alleged to have dishonestly received for herself RM1.5 million from Saidi for the same purpose at her residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta on Sept 7, 2017.

Rosmah is also facing a third charge of accepting gratification of RM5 million from Saidi through Rizal for helping Jepak Holdings secure the same project on Dec 20, 2016, at the Seri Perdana residence in Putrajaya between January 2016 and September 2017.

Rosmah filed a fresh application for a stay in the Court of Appeal after the High Court refused to grant her the stay order.

In today’s proceeding conducted online, Rosmah’s lead counsel Jagjit Singh argued that a stay should be granted as the matter is an exceptional circumstances case.

However, Sri Ram, citing a case law, argued that the fact that the proceeding might be rendered a nullity was not a special circumstance to be granted a stay order.

When contacted, lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader who is also representing Rosmah said they filed an appeal to the Federal Court today.

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