KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s then aide Datuk Rizal Mansor had said there was cash in two bags that were picked up from Pavilion and were then brought to the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya, Seri Perdana in December 2016, a witness told the High Court today.
Businessman Datuk Ahmed Farriq Zainul Abidin, who was testifying as the ninth prosecution witness against Rosmah in her bribery trial, confirmed that Rizal had indicated that their trip to Seri Perdana was to drop off items for “Mem” — which he understood to be a reference to Rosmah.
Ahmed Farriq recounted the incident in December 2016, where he had personally witnessed these bags being delivered from Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur to Seri Perdana in Putrajaya.
The series of events on that day started with Ahmed Farriq and Rizal going to Pavilion in a black Alphard driven by Rizal’s driver Arif from Yayasan Perdana Ummah’s office, following Rizal’s invitation for the businessman to join him for a drink at a cafe.
While at a cafe in Pavilion on that day, Ahmed Farriq said Rizal had told him he was waiting for unspecified goods, and that Rizal had then received a phone call before asking him to follow him to Pavilion Tower.
The bags appear
After having walked to Pavilion Tower together, Ahmed Farriq said he saw a vehicle parked at the lobby area, but he could not recall the make or colour of the vehicle.
He said he saw two to three unknown men come out from the vehicle with two of them carrying two black luggage bags, before going up the lift of the building.
He confirmed that Rizal had also gone up and that he had stayed back at the lobby at the latter’s request, while also saying that he could not recognise the two men who had carried the bags.
“Around 20 minutes later, Datuk Rizal came down and told me ‘there’s problem’ and he told me that he has to send those two bags to Seri Perdana, Putrajaya. I just agreed and followed without much questions,” he said, adding that he did not know why the two bags had to be sent to the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya.
Ahmed Farriq said the same two men had put the two bags into the boot of the Alphard, with Rizal then sitting at the back of the car, while an unknown man that Rizal later identified as a policeman, sat at the front passenger seat to serve as an “escort” for the trip to Seri Perdana.
Trip to Seri Perdana from Pavilion
Ahmed Farriq said Rizal had told him what was in the two bags.
“Datuk Rizal also told me that the two bags contained cash but he did not state the amount. I don’t know whether both bags contained cash but in my mind the two bags possibly contained cash.
“At that time, I also asked Datuk Rizal the purpose of us going to Putrajaya. Datuk Rizal told me ‘want to give things to mem’,” he said.
“I did not ask Datuk Rizal who is the ‘Mem’ that he referred to as I know ‘Mem’ refers to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. This is because I have been close friends with Datuk Rizal since 2014 and in our conversations, he frequently uses ‘mem’ when referring to Datin Seri Rosmah,” he added.
Bags dropped off
Ahmed Farriq said he had suggested to Rizal to have their “escort” dropped off at the Prime Minister’s Office before proceeding to Seri Perdana and that Rizal had agreed, noting that his suggestion was due to the escort being an unknown individual and due to his worry about their safety due to the bags of cash.
After the earlier escort was dropped off at the Prime Minister’s Office, a police outrider then escorted the Alphard — which Rizal, Ahmed Farriq and the bags were in — to Seri Perdana.
After the Alphard arrived at the Seri Perdana compound, Ahmed Farriq said he saw Rizal getting down from the car, while two men wearing the uniform of butlers appeared.
“The two butlers took the two bags out of the car boot. The two bags were the same bags that were placed into the car boot at Pavilion. At that time also, Datuk Rizal told me that he wants to meet with ‘mem’ and he asked me to wait in the car together with Arif,” he said.
“Then Datuk Rizal together with the two butlers entered the Seri Perdana residence where each butler pulled a bag. I clearly saw those two bags were brought into the Seri Perdana house by the two butlers.
“After around 30 minutes, Datuk Rizal came out alone without carrying anything. I also did not see those two bags after that. Datuk Rizal told me that ‘Dah settle’ (Already settled) and he entered the car,” he said, adding that they then returned to Yayasan Perdana Ummah’s office.
Ahmed Farriq said that Rizal had never told him what happened at Pavilion and why the two bags had to be sent to Seri Perdana, and that he had never asked Rizal about these matters due to the latter being secretive about his work.
While stating that Rizal had told him that there was cash in those bags, Ahmed Farriq said in his witness statement that he could not verify the content of the bags as he had never looked inside.
Cross-examined by Rosmah’s lawyer Azrul Zulkifli Stork, Ahmed Farriq said he did not know what happened to the bags after the butlers took them away or what happened to the money after Rizal came out alone, also confirming that he did not know of Rizal’s arrangement with the butlers.
Who does ‘Mem’ refer to?
Agreeing with Azrul that the immediate assumption when “Mem” is mentioned is that it refers to Rosmah, Ahmed Farriq insisted that he knew the term to be referring to her when asked by Azrul if there could be others known as “mem”.
When asked by lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram on how he knew Rizal’s mention of “Mem” to be a reference to Rosmah, Ahmed Farriq replied “because that is always the name that appeared” whenever Rizal addresses Rosmah.
Sri Ram: Was there any other person to whom Rizal Mansor referred to as Mem?
Ahmed Farriq: Not that I know of.
While having agreed with Azrul that he did not know if the two bags contained cash as told by Rizal, Ahmed Farriq went on to affirm his testimony that Rizal, himself and the two bags were in a vehicle that travelled to Seri Perdana, Putrajaya.
Asked by Sri Ram, Ahmed Farriq further affirmed that the two butlers had emerged from Seri Perdana and that he saw them remove the two bags from the vehicle and carry them into the house, also confirming that Rizal had went inside and returned to the vehicle, while the bags were not brought back to the vehicle.
Rosmah is currently facing trial for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million in bribes from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s Saidi Abang Samsudin, and allegedly receiving a RM1.5 million bribe from Saidi and receiving a RM5 million bribe from Saidi via Rizal in exchange for helping the company obtain a project from the Education Ministry.
Previously, Saidi’s business partner Razak Othman had testified as the eighth prosecution witness in this case.
Razak had previously said he was the one who had placed bundles of cash into two black luggage bags, having confirmed that the cash was withdrawn by Saidi at Maybank and that Saidi had told him that the cash amounted to RM5 million.
Razak previously also testified that the duo had transported the two black luggage bags in Saidi’s Range Rover vehicle from the bank to a Pavilion building, also stating that both of them had carried the two cash-filled bags up to the building before carrying the bags down again.
Razak previously also testified that the two of them had carried the bags into the storage area of the vehicle which he said was either an Alphard or Vellfire.
The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan resumes tomorrow morning.