Rosmah faces trial over deposits totalling RM7m

She faces 12 counts of money laundering charges and 5 counts of failure to declare RM7m ‘income’, which was channelled into her Affin Bank account

by RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic courtesy of The Malaysian Insight

DATIN Seri Rosmah Mansor was charged with 17 counts of money laundering and failure to declare her income yesterday, in a widely anticipated trial as the country witnesses the first time the wife of a former Malaysian leader facing criminal charges.

The wife of former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, who spent the night at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya following her arrest on Wednesday, was brought to the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.

Dressed in an orange baju kurung and selendang, the colour of MACC’s lock-up attire, the mother of four pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The transactions read in the charges totalled about RM7.09 million.

She faces 12 counts of money laundering charges and five counts of failure to declare the RM7.09 million “income”, which was channelled into her bank account. She is charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the AntiMoney Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

If found guilty, Rosmah could face a maximum jail term of up to 15 years. (pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL/ TMR)

The charges against Rosmah showed 235 transactions into her personal account at Affin Bank Bhd between December 2013 and June 2017. The charges, however, did not specify the origin of the money.

The transactions into the former PM’s wife’s account were from as low as RM50 in a single transaction to the largest of RM300,000. The deposits into her account showed as many of 14 transfers in a single day, according to the charge sheet.

The 66-year-old Rosmah has always maintained her innocence despite public scrutiny of her perceived lavish lifestyle.

The charges were read before Judge Azura Alwi at Sessions Court 9. Azura set the case management for Nov 8, 2018.

If found guilty, Rosmah could face a maximum jail term of up to 15 years.

She was released on a RM2 million bail with two sureties and her passports impounded. Rosmah was also prohibited from contacting or disturbing any of the witnesses.

Former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram led the prosecution, while Datuk K Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent represented Rosmah.

The atmosphere at the court was intense as her husband, Najib, was also at the nearby High Court for his case mention over criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and abuse of power charges.

Najib, who was the head of Barisan Nasional (BN) which was ousted during the May 9 general election, is facing 32 criminal charges related to CBT, money laundering and power abuse. He was the country’s PM for about eight years.

Both Najib and Rosmah, who as a couple face a total of 49 criminal charges, left the court compound together after their respective proceedings.

Rosmah also took the time to thank her supporters.

“Thank you for coming. I love you,” Rosmah said, while waving to her supporters at the lobby.

Meanwhile, Gopal had proposed a RM10 million bail, but Rosmah’s defence had requested for RM250,000, claming that Najib’s wife had cooperated in the investigation stage.

She was questioned three times by the MACC, including a recent marathon session of almost 13 hours.

The prosecutor had sought for the higher bail due to the possibility of witness tampering. A witness had told the MACC that he had been bothered during the course of investigations into a wedding in 2006. The witness claimed Rosmah had disturbed him, while she was being investigated by the MACC.

The judge, however, said the RM10 million bail was too high, while the RM250,000 suggested by the defence was too low. She fixed the bail at RM2 million.

Rosmah’s lawyer Geethan said the trial will give Rosmah the chance to prove her innocence.

“This is a good opportunity for Rosmah to come forward and clear her name,” he said to the media, who had assembled at the court compound from as early as 6.30am. The trial also received international coverage.

Geethan also reiterated that the charges levelled against his client did not state anything about 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 1MDB scandal was one of the factors that helped bring down Najib’s BN government in the 14th General Election.