Rosmah aide Rizal demanded money for umrah, says witness

A witness testified that Rizal Mansor (left), former aide to Rosmah Mansor, had demanded RM25 million compensation over a solar energy project.

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor’s former personal aide demanded money from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin to perform the umrah, the High Court was told today.

Saidi’s business partner, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, testified that the aide, Rizal Mansor, had also pressured him to convince Saidi to sponsor the religious pilgrimage trip with his family.

“I persuaded Saidi to pay for the trip since it was for a religious cause,” he said when cross-examined by Rosmah’s lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader, at her trial on corruption charges.

However, the witness did not reveal how much money was paid to Rizal.

Rayyan said Rizal also demanded RM25 million from Jepak as his commission for securing a RM1.25 billion solar project for 369 rural Sarawak schools.

He said that Saidi had also told him that Rizal was given a RM500,000 contribution at his (Rizal’s) house in Segambut in December 2016. “I was told this amount was paid in cash,” he added.

However, the witness said he was unsure whether Saidi paid RM350,000 to Rizal in seven tranches between 2016 and 2017.

Rayyan said he knew Rizal was initially charged with Rosmah for corruption over the solar project and the prosecution had withdrawn its case early this year.

“I read about it that the charges were withdrawn against him,” he added.

Rizal is expected to testify as a prosecution witness.

He had been charged in April last year with soliciting and receiving RM5.5 million in bribes for himself and Rosmah.

Rosmah has been charged with three counts of corruption for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million from Saidi as an inducement to help the company secure the project through direct negotiation with the education ministry.

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

The project courted controversy when whistleblower website Sarawak Report alleged that Rosmah’s husband Najib Razak, then prime minister, had ordered the contract to be awarded to Jepak Holdings, a transport services company based in Bintulu.

Jepak Holdings was appointed at the end of 2016 for the supply of diesel and repair of generators, and to provide solar hybrid systems for the rural schools in the state.

The project was subsequently abandoned although the government paid about RM100 million in progress payment.

The hearing continues before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.