Sunday, January 23, 2022

Rosmah’s graft trial postponed over Covid-19 close contact

Her lawyer says her husband Najib Razak's MySejahtera status is red.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today postponed Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial on the solar energy project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak as her MySejahtera status shows that she had close contact with a Covid-19 case.

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan also vacated tomorrow’s hearing after Rosmah’s counsel Jagjit Singh told the court that her MySejahtera status is orange.

“My client is present today and we told her to stay in the car to wait for your lordship’s decision whether to continue the proceedings or to vacate. Her husband’s (former prime minister Najib Razak) MySejahtera status is red,” the lawyer said.

Asked by Zaini whether Najib was positive for Covid-19, Jagjit replied: “I am not sure, but I was informed his status (MySejahtera) is red.”

Zaini said red means the person is positive for Covid-19 to which the lawyer replied that he was not sure.

Zaini said the SOPs of the court complex only allow people with a blue MySejahtera status to enter the building and does not allow those who have had close or casual contact with Covid-19 cases into the premises.

“Even if I were to insist on her (Rosmah) entering the building, the security downstairs will not permit her to enter, so they can override me. This is a strict regulation that I have to oblige. Thus, I will vacate today and tomorrow’s proceedings,” the judge said.

He also instructed the defence counsel to check and update Rosmah’s MySejahtera status as the trial should be continued this Friday.

“This is a responsibility you have to take… you need to ensure your client updates her MySejahtera and inform the court on any latest developments. If her status is blue (low risk), we will continue the trial on Friday,” he said.

Earlier, senior deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court that he had been informed by the defence counsel that Rosmah had been in close contact with someone suffering from Covid-19.

“I leave it entirely to your lordship because we are ready to continue our cross-examination on Rosmah, but we are in your lordship’s hands,” said Sri Ram, who is a former Federal Court judge.

Zaini also asked the defence to explain to the court why Rosmah failed to return from her trip to Singapore by Nov 21 as ordered by the court in October.

“From what I read in the press, pursuant to the order that I issued on Oct 15, 2021, would you like to clarify? Because pursuant to the order that I gave, your client was supposed to return to Malaysia on or before Nov 21, and based on what I read in the papers, she did not come back on that date.

“But that to me is hearsay, I would like to hear from you, Jagjit,” the judge said.

Jagjit said that there was a change in his client’s travel plans considering the change in the quarantine rules under the new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Malaysia and Singapore. He also apologised to the court on behalf of Rosmah.

Zaini said that a court order must be followed at all times.

“I understand the shift in government policy… My order, however, had not changed. There is no need for the order if we allow it to be violated. You have been practising for at least 30 to 40 years… you ought to know better,” he said.

On Oct 15, Zaini allowed Rosmah’s application for the temporary return of her passport to enable her to go to Singapore to visit her eldest daughter, Nooryana Najwa, who had given birth to her second child.

Zaini said Rosmah must return to Malaysia before or on Nov 21 and that the passport must be returned to the court before or on Dec 6, 2021.

Rosmah, 69, faces a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two charges of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through her former assistant Rizal Mansor as a reward for assisting Jepak Holdings to secure the RM1.25 billion project to equip 369 schools in rural Sarawak with solar hybrid power.

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