Businessman says donation offer made through Rosmah as he was unable to meet Najib

Former Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial here today was told that a businessman offered a political donation to Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) through her as he was unable to meet her husband, former prime minister Najib Razak, in person.

Former Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin said the offer was made out of appreciation for Najib who had given approval for his company to implement the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project in Sarawak.

“The donation was offered in 2016 as we were grateful to Najib for giving our company the green light to carry out the project,” he said when cross-examined by lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader.

Saidi, who is the 17th prosecution witness, said he offered 10% of the total project cost as a donation to help ensure that Umno and BN were politically stable.

Najib led BN until its fall from power in the May 9, 2018 general election. He was also president of Umno, widely seen as the lynchpin of the coalition.

On Dec 1, 2015, he minuted a letter to the education minister for the project to be given to Jepak for the supply and installation of solar energy for 369 rural schools.

The project was discontinued after Pakatan Harapan came into power, although Jepak had collected RM63 million in advanced payments.

Saidi and his partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah had obtained Najib’s support for the project after attempts to approach then-education minister Mahdzir Khalid failed.

However, this did not help speed up matters with the ministry.

They then turned to Rosmah’s aide, Rizal Mansor, who arranged for a meeting at her private residence on Jalan Langgak Duta here in early 2016.

Speaking today, Saidi said that was their first meeting with Rosmah, adding that they had intended to make an offer of the political donation.

He said the idea of the donation had come from him and Rayyan.

When asked by Akberdin if he had really intended to make a political contribution to Umno and BN, he said: “Yes, to see them politically stable.”

When asked if he had told Rizal that the offer was made to Rosmah as he had been unable to meet Najib, he said yes.

He said the meeting with Rosmah lasted about five minutes, and that she did not appear shocked when the offer was made.

“She looked normal but never entered into a negotiation,” he said.

Rosmah, 69, was 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 ministry.

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

The hearing continues before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.