High Court allows prosecution to withdraw bid for joint trial of Rizal, Rosmah’s cases

Rosmah Mansor and Rizal Mansor in court to face charges at an earlier appearance on Nov 15 last year.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed the prosecution to withdraw its application to transfer the case of Rizal Mansor, who is facing four corruption charges in connection with a solar energy project in Sarawak, to be tried jointly with Rosmah Mansor’s case.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the application after deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib informed that there was a technical error in the application.

Akram said the prosecution was of the view that the application to transfer the case to be heard before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan should be withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh application.

As such, the case would be heard before Collin.

In his submission, Akram said under Section 25 (2) of the Courts of Judicature Act (CoJA) 1964, the judge had the discretion to transfer the case directly to any court.

Lawyer Ridha Abdah Subri, representing the former special officer of the former prime minister, did not object to the withdrawal of the application.

On Nov 15, 2018, Rizal, 45, pleaded not guilty to four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes for himself and Rosmah Mansor amounting to RM5.5 million, involving the supply of equipment and installation of the solar hybrid system for rural schools in Sarawak.

On the first charge, he was accused of soliciting, on behalf of Rosmah, RM187.5 million, which was 15% of the contract value, from Saidi Abang Samsudin, the managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The money was an inducement for Rosmah to assist the company in securing the Hybrid Photovoltaic System Integrated Project and the maintenance and operation of the diesel gen sets for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth RM1.25 billion, through direct negotiation from the education ministry.

On the second charge, Rizal was accused of soliciting RM25 million for himself from Saidi to ensure that Rosmah would assist Jepak Holdings in getting the project.

Both offences were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, G-24, Ground Floor, Sunway Putra Mall, 100, Jalan Putra, Chow Kit, here, between March and April 2016.

On the third charge, Rizal was accused of receiving RM5 million on behalf of Rosmah from Saidi as a reward for her for assisting Jepak Holdings to obtain the same project.

The offence was allegedly committed at the REIT Management Sdn Bhd lobby, 168, Pavilion, Jalan Bukit Bintang, here, on Dec 20, 2016.

On the fourth count, he was charged with receiving RM500,000 for himself from Saidi as a reward in ensuring that Rosmah assisted Jepak Holdings obtain the same project. He allegedly committed the offence at No 1, Laman Damai Sari, Jalan 1/61, Bukit Segambut, here, on Dec 23, 2016.

The charges were made under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009. The offences are punishable under Section 24 of the same act, which provides for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine not less than five times the amount or value of the bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.