by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA
FORMER Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had sent a letter to then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak to seek exemption of certain documents which would allow for interim payment to be made to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, a witness said.
In Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s (picture) graft trial yesterday, a former Procurement and Asset Management Division secretary at the Education Ministry (MoE), Kamarudin Abdullah, told the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court that the letter was sent to Najib without having to go through him, Bernama reported.
Kamarudin said the letter, dated July 19, 2017, was submitted to Najib who was the finance minister at the material time to ensure diesel supply by Jepak to rural schools in Sarawak after the interim payment.
“I was only involved when the interim payment of about RM60 million to RM70 million was made (to Jepak Holdings),” he said during a cross-examination proceeding yesterday.
The 10th prosecution witness also said the removal of a clause in the letter of acceptance concerning the hybrid solar project could only be undertaken on the instruction of the Finance Ministry (MoF).
Defence counsel Azrul Zulkifli Stork: Do you agree or disagree that there was no instruction from the MoF (to make a change to the clauses)?
Kamarudin: There was none.
In a previous proceeding, Mahdzir testified that he agreed to remove a clause from the letter of acceptance after receiving a call from Rosmah’s aide Datuk Rizal Mansor on Nov 10, 2016.
The removed clause would have provided a right to the government to terminate the contract anytime and reduce the number of schools involved in the hybrid solar project, if the schools were connected to an electrical grid.
Rosmah has been charged with soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a total bribe of RM6.5 million from Jepak MD Saidi Abang Samsudin through Rizal concerning the project.
Jepak was awarded the contract to replace the power system in 369 rural schools in Sarawak with solar hybrid.
Rosmah was alleged to have received RM5 million cash from Saidi at her official residence in Putrajaya on Dec 20, 2016, after the MoE issued the letter of award to Jepak.
The amount initially requested was 17% of the project’s total value or over RM200 million, but Rosmah later agreed with 15% or RM187.5 million on Rizal’s advice.
Rosmah had also received RM1.5 million cash from Saidi at her home in Jalan Langgak Duta, KL, on Sept 7, 2017, after the solar contract was executed on June 20, 2017.
Subsequently, the MoE then released a series of payments to Jepak.