KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was formally accused today of bribery in relation to a Sarawak rural schools project awarded when her husband was still the prime minister.
After the charge was read out in Malay to her at the Sessions Court here, the wife of Datuk Seri Najib Razak nodded to indicate she understood.
She is accused of receiving RM5 million as inducement from one Saidi Abang Samsuddin at Jalan Langgak Duta on December 20, 2016, for the award of the project.
According to the charge sheet, the bribe was meant to help Jepak Holdings secure the contract for the Projek Bersepadu Sistem Solar Photovoltaic Hibrid contract and be the appointed contractor to operate and maintain diesel generators for some 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth RM1.25 billion.
She was accused of assisting Jepak Holdings obtain the appointment by way of a direct negotiation with the Education Ministry.
The charge was proffered under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and is punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law.
The offence is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of RM10,000 or five times the value of the bribe, whichever is higher.
Dressed in a green baju kurung and a loose headscarf, Rosmah then claimed trial.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar proposed that bail be set at RM1 million with one surety.
Judge Azura Alwi is currently deliberating this with lead defence lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kadir.
Akberdin argued the bail sought was too high and that payment was simply meant to secure the accused person’s attendance in court and not meant to punish.
He also noted that Rosmah has already been charged with a similar offence over the same matter in November last year.
“The previous case is over the same project, and only differs from the date the offence was allegedly committed, so we plead for the court to adopt the bail from the previous case for this morning’s charge,’ said Akberdin, adding it would assist their plan to have all the related cases tried together.
Mohd Dusuki rebutted by saying that bail must be considered separately as the cases were still distinct at this stage.
Azura then set bail at RM1 million with one surety, but with both the payment and bailor to be adopted from the previous case in November.
She then set May 10 for case mention.
In November last year, Rosmah and Rizal were charged with soliciting bribes from Jepak Holdings’ director, to the tune of about one-sixth of a government contract’s value, just for helping the company win the RM1.25 billion project.
Rosmah had then claimed trial for one charge for soliciting a bribe of RM187.5 million and one charge for receiving a bribe of RM1.5 million from the company.
*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.