Witness says ex-education minister demanded RM250 mil from solar project

Former education minister Mahdzir Khalid had denied that he had demanded or received any bribe from Jepak.

KUALA LUMPUR: A witness told the High Court in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial that
former education minister Mahdzir Khalid demanded 20% of the RM1.25 billion solar project for Sarawak schools as his contribution in securing the contract for a company.

However, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah said this amount was reduced to RM60 million or RM1 million per month over five years from 2016.

“This money (RM60 million) was to be paid through Mahdzir’s proxy identified as Md Fuad Yassin,” he said when cross-examined by counsel Akberdin Abdul Kader.

However, he said, the RM60 million was never paid by the contractor, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, to the proxy.

Mahdzir, who had appeared as a prosecution witness, had denied earlier he had demanded or received any bribe from Jepak.

Rayyan, the 16th prosecution witness, said Mahdzir demanded the RM250 million (20% of the project cost) that was to be paid to Fuad.

However, he said the amount was finally reduced to RM60 million after a discussion

“Mahdzir entered into a written ‘contract’ with Jepak to get the RM60 million or RM1 million a month for five years,” he said.

The witness, however, said that to his knowledge, his business partner, Saidi Abang Samsuddin, only spent about RM50,000 on delegates from the Padang Terap Umno division who attended the party’s general assembly.

Mahadzir is the division chief and MP for the constituency.

Rayyan also said another RM2 million was paid to Pekan Umno division secretary Aazmey Abu Talib for his role in securing the project.

“He had helped obtain important letters from then prime minister and finance minister Najib Razak in connection with the project approval,” he said.

He said an agreement was also drawn up between Aazmey and Jepak to disburse the amount.

“Aazmey wanted his wife and children to be made beneficiary in case anything was to happen to him,” Rayyan said.

He said Aazmey was also detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission but was unsure whether he was to be charged with 20 counts of graft.

Rayyan said he had always advised Saidi not to bribe politicians or anyone to secure government projects but it fell on deaf ears.

“I come from a humble background and want to help the poor and needy,” he said, adding that Jepak had also committed forgery and cheating in altering the content of the project.

He said this caused losses to the government, and Jepak did not reply to the show cause letter issued by the ministry.

“The ministry also did not make police reports although Mahdzir and senior officials were aware of the matter,” he said.

Rayyan said he took the matter up to the Public Complaints Bureau, which then referred it to MACC for it to investigate.

The witness said Saidi threatened him to withdraw his complaint or else his commission would not be paid.

Rosmah faces 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 through direct negotiation with the ministry.

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

The hearing before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues.