The Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday ruled that Rosmah Mansor had dominated over her husband, Najib Razak, and had had control over the former prime minister.
In his 116-page judgment, judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said it was clear from the audio recording that the accused gave instructions to Najib on government affairs.
The judge was referring to the "Can I advise you something" audio clip between Najib and Rosmah that previously went viral.
"In her witness statement, the accused did not assertively state that the voices in the audio recording were not of her and Najib. No fewer than three witnesses, namely Rizal Mansor (former aide of Rosmah), former education minister Mahdzir Khalid and the ministry’s then secretary-general Madinah Mohamed, have positively identified the voices in the recording as those of Najib and the accused.
"These three are familiar with the voices of Najib and the accused. I do not doubt that they were right. The accused attempted to downplay the conversation in the recording by relating it to a typical discussion between a husband and wife. However, it was no ordinary conversation between spouses, for it was about government affairs," said the judge.
The judge said the accused’s tone was commanding and contrary to her contention that she had heeded Najib's stand on not meddling in government affairs.
"I say this with the greatest of respect, but it is apparent that the accused dominates Najib. She has control over him. She had no business interfering in Najib's duties or the government's affairs, but she did," said the judge.
He added that Rizal was telling the truth when he said that the accused had an overbearing nature and the ability to influence decisions in the civil service as he had worked with her for many years and would have been able to witness this personally.
"That the likes of Mahdzir, Madinah and education ministry secretary-general Alias Ahmad never questioned any queries or instructions from the accused or Rizal adds weight to this factor. The accused does not come across as someone Rizal could have taken advantage of.
"She has a steely character and would not hesitate to admonish anyone. It was also evident during the trial as she was not cowed when being cross-examined by the learned counsel for the prosecution, which I might add is no mean feat considering the learned counsel's eminence."
Zaini further said that Rosmah’s defence that she had never interfered in any government project was hearsay as Najib did not testify in court.
He said the accused emphatically denied interfering in any of the government's projects, especially a RM1.25 billion hybrid solar project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
"She contended that Najib had reminded her not to get involved with any contractors and that she was to remain dutifully as his wife.
"The accused maintained that she feared Najib's wrath and would never attempt to influence him, let alone force or advise him on matters concerning government affairs," he said.
He said all of these statements attributed to Najib were hearsay and inadmissible as evidence, as Najib did not testify and only he could verify what the accused claimed he had said.
Zaini further said he acknowledged that Pekan Umno secretary Ahmad Aazmey Abu Talib had played a significant part in getting the minutes from Najib for Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd's benefit, but that the facts evinced that the accused, too, played a significant part.
"For instance, the accused told Madinah: 'You tengok skit pojek solar Jepak. Cepatkan sikit' (Look into the Jepak solar project. Expedite it) during one of Permata's events. There is no reason for Madinah to concoct a lie to implicate the accused. What would be her motive? If there was any, this was never put to her," he added.
The judge said the accused also claimed that Mahdzir and Alias had a vested interest in the project and that they had cast aspersions on the accused to camouflage their wrongdoings on the project.
He said he found no credible evidence to prove that Mahdzir or Alias had attempted to profit from the project, adding that there were many accusations thrown at them during cross-examination, particularly Mahdzir.
"From my observation, Mahdzir steadfastly denied all the accusations. He never showed any signs of being nervous or apprehensive in refuting the negative aspersions cast during the cross. He was resolute," he said.
Zaini said in his opinion, Mahdzir had attempted to do the right thing.
"Bearing that Saidi Abang Samsudin, at that time managing director of Jepak Holdings, was a close friend (to Mahdzir) he could have easily cleared the path for Jepak's benefit.
"The evidence shows that Mahdzir wanted Jepak to go through the proper process. He did not want to circumvent the education ministry's procedure. He even went to the extent of trying to persuade Najib on two occasions personally," he said.
The judge said on the first occasion, Mahdzir had tried to convince Najib to use an open tender for the project instead of acting through direct negotiations with Jepak.
"Najib was adamant and told him to carry out his instructions. On the second occasion, Mahdzir advised Najib to defer the issuance of the letter of award to Jepak as the latter had not met many of the ministry's requirements," he said.
The judge said Mahdzir also complained to Najib of Saidi and his business partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah’s incessant harassment and disrespectful attitude toward him as a Mminister.
"Nevertheless, Najib again ignored his plea and instructed him to follow his instructions. It is indeed amazing that a contract worth RM1.25 billion could simply be awarded merely by penning minutes without going through the expected procedures that will serve to check and balance," he added.
Zaini said there were two incidents that stood out in proving the accused's active interference in the project.
"First, there was the occasion where Othman Semali from the finance ministry told off Rizal, at that time the special officer of Prime Minister’s Office, and Saidi when they came to see him with a letter that had Najib's minutes stating his agreement for the education ministry to negotiate directly with Jepak.
"In chastising the duo, Othman told them that he serves the public, not politicians. When the duo complained to Rizal, the latter, in turn, told the accused, who a few days later told Rizal that 'Aku dah cakap dengan laki aku dah' (I have already told my husband). A few days later, the finance ministry's approval was issued,” he said.
The judge said the second occasion was regarding Clause 11 of the letter of award that Saidi and Rayyan had issues with Mahdzir who did not relent when they came to see him and asked for the clause to be taken out.
"That changed when Saidi called Rizal and passed the phone to Mahdzir. Rizal told Mahdzir to do as he was told and reminded him that 'Mem', the accused, was aware of the project. That was enough to compel Mahdzir to instruct his officers to take Clause 11 out.
"This incident was after Mahdzir had met Najib twice. It was clear to Mahdzir that the accused was on 'Jepak's team'. He was not wrong," he added.