Rosmah’s solar trial given priority for completion

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by BERNAMA

DATIN Seri Rosmah Mansor’s (picture) money-laundering and tax evasion hearing involving about RM7.1 million this month was vacated to allow her ongoing graft case on the solar power supply to complete.

High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who presides over both cases, has given the priority to the solar project trial which started last February, Bernama reported.

“The dates previously fixed in May could not go on because of the Movement Control Order,” the judge said during a case management yesterday.

He also set July 30 for another case management to fix new dates for the trial.

Rosmah was exempted from attending the court yesterday and was represented by counsel Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent. The case — in which she has been charged on 12 counts of money laundering with a total amount of RM7.1 million and five counts of failing to declare income — was previously scheduled for May 12 to 14, July 6 to 9, July 13 to 16 and July 20 to 24.

The charges against her showed 235 transactions into her Affin Bank account between December 2013 and June 2017.

The transactions into the account of the former prime minister’s wife were from as low as RM50 in a single transaction to RM300,000 being the largest.

The deposits into her account showed as many as 14 transfers in a single day, according to the charge sheet.

Rosmah pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, at former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s corruption trial, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was recused from the hearing to avoid bias.

The Appeal Court Justice Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang said Mohd Nazlan might display bias despite his declaration that he would not be prejudiced against Tengku Adnan after presiding over the case of businessman Datuk Tan Eng Boon.

“We are of the considered view that the danger he (the judge) might be so is there and real.

“This is because how could he — or any presiding judge for that matter, having not just looked at but also considered the facts of the case as well as the documentary exhibits tendered in support of the plea of Tan that he offered the bribe to the appellant (Tengku Adnan) which was accepted — be able to completely obliterate this crucial fact from his mind,” Rhodzariah said in a 14-page written judgement dated May 15.

She, however, said the court is not in any way questioning Mohd Nazlan’s integrity or his ability to decide Tengku Adnan’s case per the evidence adduced before him.

She added that the court is equally mindful that such evidence adduced by both sides would be subject to cross-examination and will be given a maximum evaluation by the High Court judge.

She said the danger was that the judge had accepted Tan’s plea of guilty which, to the court’s view, cannot be effaced.

“In other words, such a possibility of bias cannot be ruled out, even though the probability might,” she said.

On Sept 17 last year, the High Court, presided by Mohd Nazlan, fined Tan RM1.5 million in default of 12 months’ jail after the businessman pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of abetting Tengku Adnan following a plea bargain entered between Tan and the prosecution.

The director of a property development company, who turned prosecution witness in the case, was accused of bribing Tengku Adnan to raise the plot ratio of development on Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur, by depositing a RM1 million cheque from Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd into the latter’s bank account as gratification.

Subsequently, Tengku Adnan’s defence submitted that he would not receive a fair trial because the judge may be influenced by the facts of the case or by Tan’s guilty plea.