Rosmah trial: Defence paints ex-minister as corrupt, wanting bribes in exchange for approving RM1b project

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, February 11, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, February 11, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 ― The defence lawyers in Datin Seri Rosmah’s corruption trial posited that ex-education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as the corrupt one in the awarding of the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid schools project to Saidi Abang Samsudin’s company Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Rosmah’s lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh proposed that the real team working behind the scenes was not Saidi and his partner Rayyan Radzwil Abdullah and Rosmah’s personal aide Datuk Rizal Mansor known as “Team Saidi”,  but was Mahdzir and his cohorts and dubbed them “Team Mahdzir”.

Jagjit: I put it to you that you demanded 20 per cent of the project cost from Saidi. Do you agree?

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: After discussion with Saidi he agreed to pay you RM1 million for a period of five years so in total you asked for RM5 million. You agree?

Mahdzir: No I don’t.

Jagjit: I believe you’re lying to the Court and you cooperated with the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) to try to avoid conviction.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit then hurled accusations at Mahdzir claiming the real team that’s working to get the RM1.25 billion project was not “Team Saidi” as mentioned previously but in fact Mahdzir was the mastermind behind the entire scheme.

Jagjit said Mahdzir had not once contacted Rosmah in person to check if any of the orders passed on to him from Rizal Mansor or Saidi or Rayyan actually came from Rosmah herself.

He also pointed out that the only time Mahdzir had direct contact with Rosmah regarding this matter was when they met at a buka puasa event in 2016 to which Mahdzir agreed.

Jagjit: In light of the evidence I put it to you that this sentence of yours “Rosmah told me ‘tengoklah project solar tu’ is a fabrication? It’s a lie, agreed?

Mahdzir: Disagreed.

Jagjit: Then can you explain to our Lordship why on one hand you said team Saidi and Rosmah were involved in this project whereas yesterday you said Rosmah had abruptly denied knowing the individual named Rayyan and that she had claimed to only be assisting “Cikgu Aazmey” in the matter? It makes no sense.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: I have to put it to you that your evidence is “touch and go” at this point. First it was Rizal who was in charge, then Rayyan, then Saidi then back to Cikgu Aazmey. It’s a bit touch and go.

Mahdzir: I disagree. I disagree. I follow the rules.

Cikgu Aazmey refers to Pekan Umno secretary, Datuk Aazmey Abu Talib, who was involved in helping expedite the granting of the solar hybrid project and was also part of the alleged “Team Saidi”.

Rosmah is on trial over her alleged seeking of RM187.5 million in bribes and taking bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Saidi in exchange for helping Jepak Holdings get the RM1.25 billion project.

Mahdzir, the education minister from July 2015 to May 2018, said Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi had approached him after encountering problems seeking funds from the Education Ministry.

Mahdzir said Saidi had told him in July 2017 that the company had been unable to obtain interim claims for electricity supply services to Sarawak schools through diesel generators since January 2017.

Mahdzir said Saidi had informed him that the Education Ministry’s finance division had refused to process the claims due to incomplete documentation following non-compliance with procedures for price negotiations.

The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan is on day four and Mahdzir is the fifth prosecution witness.