I dropped off police officer ‘Evo’ to protect my boss, says ex-aide Rizal

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court September 17, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Datuk Rizal Mansor today told the High Court that he had dropped off a police officer known as “Evo” at the Prime Minister’s Office before taking two luggage bags containing RM5 million to the Seri Perdana Complex, Putrajaya to protect his “boss”.

Rizal, former special officer to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said that he did not want the police officer, who was also in his vehicle, to find out the destination and to whom the money was taken.

“At that time I panicked, I did not know what to do. Datuk Farriq (Ahmed Farriq Zainul Abidin, who is also Rizal’s friend) whispered to me that it would be dangerous if he (the police officer) knew we wanted to take a bag (containing RM5 million), or to whom. I was protecting my boss,” he said during cross-examination by lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader, who represented Rosmah.

Rizal, 46, testified at the trial of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s wife who faces one charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two charges of receiving bribes amounting to RM6.5 million from former Jepak Holdings Managing Director Saidi Abang Samsudin.

Rizal, through his witness statement earlier, told the court that Rosmah had instructed him to take RM5 million in cash to the official residence in Seri Perdana because she was in the house at that time.

To Akberdin’s question that Rizal’s action in dropping off the police officer was to prevent him from knowing where he (Rizal) wanted to go, the 21st prosecution witness replied, “I really didn’t want him to know where I was taking the bag to”.

According to Rizal, although he had Evo’s phone number, he did not know his real name and was also unsure of his rank.

Akberdin: Through the witness statement, you stated that you and Datuk Farriq felt uncomfortable with the presence of the police officer. There was no reason for you to feel uncomfortable because you “arranged” for the police officer to escort Saidi after he withdrew RM5 million from Maybank, in Jalan Medan Tuanku at the end of December 2016 and took it to Lawrence’s (consultant Tee Kien Moon) office at the Pavilion.

Rizal: Yes, I did arrange for the police officer to escort Saidi because Saidi informed me that he was afraid to carry that much cash.

“But after I was told by Saidi that Lawrence did not want to receive the RM5 million, I panicked. This was the first time I have been in possession of that much money,” said Rizal.

Akberdin: The reason that you felt uncomfortable was just a drama. You actually wanted to “pocket” the RM5 million and then you said you were uncomfortable.

Rizal: I disagree.

Meanwhile, to a question by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram during re-examination, Rizal told the court that he never took the RM5 million, which was brought to Pavilion by Saidi, and used it for himself.

To another question by Sri Ram, Rizal said that although he was appointed as a special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was prime minister then, only 10 per cent of his role was dedicated to Najib, while 90 per cent was for Rosmah.

Asked by Sri Ram about his lifestyle and luxury cars, the key prosecution witness said the Mercedez-Benz belonged to his daughter who is also famous online, while the Audi belonged to his wife, who is also a businesswoman and the Honda Odyssey belonged to him.

Sri Ram: The defence suggested to you that the accused (Rosmah) did not ask for the money for herself and Saidi suggested the money was for a “political donation”. Do you know of the RM6.5 million sent to Rosmah for political donation?

Rizal: Not to my knowledge.

The witness further said that there was neither receipt nor thank you letter issued to Jepak, Saidi or Rayyan by Umno or Barisan Nasional in appreciation of the “political donation”.

According to the charge, Rosmah allegedly received the bribes through Rizal as a reward for assisting Jepak Holdings secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project, as well as the maintenance and operation of diesel gen-sets, for 369 Sarawak rural schools, worth RM1.25 billion, from the Education Ministry through direct negotiation.

The acts were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra here; Rosmah’s residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and September 2017.

The trial before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan is to continue on October 5. — Bernama

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