Businessman in solar project says partner agreed to ‘political contribution’ for Rosmah

Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah (left), a witness in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial, leaves the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

KUALA LUMPUR: A witness in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial told the High Court here today that his business partner had agreed to pay a “political contribution” to the former prime minister’s wife for assisting them in obtaining the solar project for Sarawak schools.

Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah said he and Sarawakian businessman Saidi Abang Samsudin met Rosmah in a meeting at her home in Langgak Duta in early 2016.

At the meeting, he said, Saidi offered Rosmah 10% or RM187.5 million as a “contribution” for helping their company, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, secure the RM1.25 billion project.

“He offered her 10% of the RM1.25 billion and she responded by saying, ‘the current political climate needs a lot of money’ (keadaan politik sekarang memang memerlukan banyak wang).”

He added that the meeting was about 10 minutes long.

He said Rosmah’s former aide Rizal Mansor had also attended the meeting.

After the meeting, he said, Rizal met him and Saidi at a cafe in Sunway Putra Mall where the aide informed them that Rosmah wanted an increase in the “contribution”, to 15%.

“Saidi told Rizal that the amount was too high, and asked if Rizal could try to lower the amount.

“Rizal only replied that he would check and get back to us,” Rayyan added.

He also told the court that Rizal had asked for RM5 million from Saidi for his own share.

Rizal was initially slapped with four counts of corruption regarding the solar project, but charges against him were withdrawn before the trial began in February.

He said a few months after the meeting at Langgak Duta, he and Saidi were introduced to two men known as Lawrence and Desmond Lim.

“I came to know that Lawrence and Desmond were people whom she (Rosmah) trusted, and whatever money needed to be handed to her, Lawrence would take care of it.

“Lawrence helped Jepak Holdings draft an agreement for the payment of ‘consultancy fees’ for Rosmah because of her role in the solar project.”

Under the agreement, he said, Jepak Holdings would pay the fees to a Taiwanese company.

Rayyan also told the court he had presented a timetable of five years for payment of the “political contribution”, with the money to be paid to Rosmah once Jepak Holdings had received it in stages from the education ministry.

He also said then-education minister Mahdzir Khalid had not been keen on their proposed project as it was expensive and Mahdzir had no faith in their ability to carry it out.

“I voiced my complaints to the minister to Rizal. Rizal then told me that he would introduce Jepak Holdings to the ministry’s secretary-general (Madinah Mohamad). He passed me her number.

“We also contacted Ahmad Aazmey Abu Talib (Pekan Umno secretary) to seek his help for the prime minister’s support so that the education ministry could approve the project quickly,” Rayyan said.

He said Aazmey then informed him that then-prime minister Najib Razak had instructed Mahdzir to execute the project.

“Education ministry officers called us for a meeting and said that the government proposed that the solar project be done at the pilot stage in 28 Sarawak schools, free of charge.

“I told them this idea did not make sense,” Rayyan said.

Initially Jepak Holdings wanted the solar project to be implemented in 369 schools in rural Sarawak.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan where Rayyan will continue his testimony.

Rosmah was slapped with three counts of corruption for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million from Saidi as an inducement to help the company secure the project for 369 schools in rural Sarawak, worth a total of RM1.25 billion through direct negotiation from the education ministry.

She was also accused of receiving bribes amounting RM6.5 million from Saidi between 2016 and 2017.

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