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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Fake agreement drawn up to conceal bribes to Rosmah - prosecution

 


A fake "consultancy" agreement was used to conceal the payment of bribes from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd ex-managing director Saidi Abang Shamsuddin to Rosmah Mansor, claimed a court filing.

In a written submission filed with the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the prosecution in Rosmah’s corruption case alleged the now-missing agreement was to come up with a way to "regularise" the payment sought by her.

“The object was to prepare an agreement to conceal the true nature of the payment by Saidi to the accused.

“The euphemism ‘consultancy’ was used to mask the payment of the bribes,” it claimed through the court document, as reported today by online news portal Free Malaysia Today.

The court filing was in relation to Rosmah’s graft trial over the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid energy project to power 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

The prosecution is led by former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram, who is assisted by deputy public prosecutors Idham Abdul Ghani, Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohamed Mustafa Kunyalam and Poh Yin Tinn.

In the court filing, the prosecution claimed that it was unnecessary to conceal the payment under a consultancy agreement if the said payment was an actual political donation to Rosmah’s husband Najib Abdul Razak, who was the prime minister at the time.

It claimed that Jepak Holdings wanted to secure a contract from the Education Ministry to provide solar hybrid energy to the schools, but the then minister, Mahdzir Khalid, was not supportive.

Mahdzir Khalid

The prosecution alleged that Saidi and his then business partner, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, later approached the accused’s aide Rizal Mansor, in order to secure Rosmah's assistance in getting the contract.

It claimed that during a meeting arranged by Rizal in 2016, Saidi made a suggestion to Rosmah that he would donate the equivalent of 10 percent of the contract’s value to Najib as a sign of appreciation of his work.

The prosecution alleged that Rosmah had replied that the money is needed for political purposes and directed Rizal to bring Saidi and Rayyan to meet businessperson Desmond Lim.

“This was a signal that the accused had accepted the offer,” it claimed.

The prosecution alleged that the agreement was prepared by lawyer Lawrence Tee Kien Moon, who was referred by Lim.

“That agreement has since gone missing but the prosecution submits that Lawrence (Tee) is a truthful witness and despite the accusations of unethical conduct hurled at him, his credibility remains unshaken.

“He is a disinterested witness. He only came into the picture because the accused sent Saidi, Rayyan and Rizal to meet with Desmond Lim. His evidence is purely of corroborative value,” it claimed.

The prosecution alleged that Rosmah solicited a bribe as after Saidi and Rayyan had departed from her private residence, the accused purportedly told Rizal to increase the donation from 10 percent to 15 percent.

“It may be added that the defence case that the monies were a political donation is irrelevant because, by definition, a donation is gratification,” it claimed.

It alleged that Saidi cashed RM1.5 million at a bank, and the money was put in two bags and placed in his vehicle. His driver, Shamsul Rizal Sharbini, allegedly drove the vehicle to Rosmah’s private residence at Langgak Duta.

“The photographs and video taken by Rayyan confirm the presence of the bags. Saidi informed Rosmah that he had brought RM1.5 million before both left after a brief meeting,” it claimed.

Rizal Mansor

It alleged that Rizal, who was in an adjacent sitting room, heard Rosmah directing her butler to bring the bags to her room.

The prosecution claimed that the solicitation of the bribe and the payments of the first and second tranche “were part of one and the same transaction”.

“Accordingly, the direct evidence of the receipt of the RM1.5 million is relevant to the delivery and receipt of the (earlier) RM5 million,” it alleged.

When contacted by Malaysiakini today, Rosmah's defence counsel Akberdin Abdul said they will respond via a court filing later.

"We will file our reply soon in court," Akberdin said.

The prosecution closed its case against Rosmah on Dec 11, after a 33-day trial that saw 23 prosecution witnesses take the stand.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur is set to hear oral submissions from both prosecution and defence on Feb 10, 2021. 

Rosmah is facing three counts of corruption for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin as an inducement to help the company secure a solar energy project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, costing RM1.25 billion, 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. - Mkini

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