KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor was able to solicit and receive bribes from a company that was bent on securing a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project in Sarawak as she could influence decisions of the then government led by her husband, the High Court heard.
Ad-hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the accused, who is the wife of the former prime minister Najib Razak, occupied no official position.
“However, she wielded considerable influence by reason of her overbearing nature.
“She placed herself in a position where she was able to influence decisions in the public sector,” he said in his opening statement read before trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.
The 69-year-old Rosmah is charged with soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of accepting bribes totalling RM6.5 million, between 2016 and 2017, for the supply and installation of solar energy to 369 rural schools.
To date, none of the schools have this system.
Giving an account of the events leading to the three corruption charges against Rosmah, Sri Ram said Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s managing director and majority shareholder Saidi Abang Samsudin wanted to obtain the contract from Putrajaya.
Saidi, and his partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, approached then education minister Mahdzir Khalid, but the outcome was futile.
Sri Ram said Saidi and Rayyan managed to get support from Najib for the project but that did not help speed up matters with the ministry.
He said both men then turned to Rosmah’s aide, Rizal Mansor, who arranged for a meeting that took place at her private residence on Jalan Langgak Duta here in early 2016.
Sri Ram said Saidi wanted Rosmah’s assurance that she would help Jepak and in return made an offer of a political donation to the accused’s husband as a gesture of gratitude for supporting the application.
“It is of importance to note that the accused did not hold any position of responsibility in any political party at that time. The accused knew that the so-called ‘political donation’ was meant as a bribe for her,” he said.
After this meeting, Sri Ram said Rosmah incrementally increased the sum of political donation to RM187.5 million, which works out to be 15% of the value of RM1.25 billion.
“She used Rizal Mansor to make her demands and to negotiate the bribe. Initially, she wanted 17% of the value of the project or RM200 million,” he said, adding that on Rizal’s advice, she agreed to accept 15%.
Sri Ram said a sham agreement was drawn up to disguise the payment and to conceal the name of the true recipient of the money.
On Dec 20, 2016, he said Saidi gave the accused RM5 million in cash at the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya after the letter of award was issued to Jepak by the ministry.
The solar contract was executed on June 20, 2017 and the ministry then released a series of payments to Jepak.
Saidi delivered another RM 1.5 million in cash to the accused at her Langgak Duta home here on Sept 7, 2017.
Sri Ram said direct and circumstantial evidence would prove that Rosmah was actuated by a corrupt intention at all material times.
Rosmah’s lead counsel Jagjit Singh applied to expunge the paragraphs that ” she wielded considerable influence by reason of her overbearing nature. She placed herself in a position where she was able to influence decisions in the public sector”, as that was tantamount to defaming her.
However, Sri Ram replied that this was a corruption case and the prosecution had to show her conduct and disposition.
“We will lead evidence to that effect and this is allowed, as decided in a Federal Court ruling in the corruption case of (former Negri Sembilan executive councillor) Waad Mansor,” he said.
Zaini said he could not dictate how the prosecution conducted its case.
“I can’t jump the gun here. The application is dismissed,” he added.