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Defence in graft case says will prove that Rosmah was a scapegoat

Her lawyer says that her former aide, Rizal Mansor, was the real mastermind.

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Rosmah Mansor at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama
Rosmah Mansor at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

The defence in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption case involving the hybrid solar project for rural schools in Sarawak will seek to prove that the former prime minister’s wife was used as a scapegoat and that the real mastermind was her former aide, Rizal Mansor.

Lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader, representing Rosmah, when reading his opening statement on the case in the High Court today, said the charges against his client constituted selective prosecution made in bad faith and with mala fide.

“This is because the individual responsible and the mastermind in the case, who solicited and received money as stated in the three charges, was Rizal.

“The act of the prosecution to withdraw all charges against Rizal and then select him as the 21st prosecution witness clearly shows that a deal has been made with Rizal… and Rizal as the crown witness had to give false evidence in court to trap and link my client to the three charges,” he said.

Akberdin said this on the first day of Rosmah’s defence proceedings for her three corruption charges involving the hybrid solar project worth RM1.25 billion for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

Akberdin said if Rizal did not cooperate with the prosecution to accuse Rosmah with false evidence, the prosecution would continue to prosecute Rizal with new charges.

On Feb 18, the High Court ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on the three corruption charges after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against her.

Akberdin said Rosmah was also made a scapegoat by incompetent quarters in the government‘s administration then, especially the education ministry, and those who conspired with Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“My client had said that there were other parties who used her name for personal and political interests.

“Before Rosmah was charged, there was no report from any party, especially Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin and businessman Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that the accused accepted or solicited bribes,” he said.

Akberdin said Rosmah also did not know Saidi or Rayyan personally and that her meeting with them was arranged by Rizal.

“Rosmah was never involved in soliciting the bribe of RM187.5 million, which is 15% of the contract value from Saidi, either personally or through Rizal.

“She also had no knowledge that Rizal had asked for a bribe from Saidi of 10, 12 or 15% at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall,” he said, adding that Rosmah had never received a bribe of RM6.5 million from Saidi to help Jepak secure the solar project through direct negotiations.

Akberdin said Rosmah was also not aware of the meeting with Saidi and Rayyan at her house in Langgak Duta on Sept 7, 2017 because she did not ask Rizal to arrange the meeting.

“The meeting lasted less than five minutes and Rosmah was in sports gear, and was breathing heavily after exercising. This showed that the meeting happened spontaneously, and was unplanned and sudden,” he added.

Akberdin said his client would also deny the allegation that she had received two bags containing RM5 million at Seri Perdana on Dec 20, 2016.

“In fact, it is all Rizal’s fabrication and agenda to frame my client to save himself,” he added.

Rosmah, 69, was charged with soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes of RM6.5 million from Saidi through Rizal.

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

The offence was allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra; her residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Presint 10, Putrajaya, between January 2016 and September 2017.

The charges were framed under Section 6(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and are punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than fives times the amount of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Rosmah, who was wearing a pink baju kurung with a matching shawl, arrived at the Kuala Lumpur court complex in Jalan Duta at 9.56am with a few aides.