Rosmah’s trial: Defence alleges witness gave contradictory testimony

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

The defence team of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (picture), in the graft charges involving a hybrid solar project, alleged that former managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, Saidi Abang Samsudin, gave contradictory testimony regarding the withdrawal of RM1.5 million allegedly given to the wife of the former prime minister.

During cross-examination, lawyer Azrul Zulkifli Stork, representing Rosmah, claimed that Saidi’s testimony in the High Court today contradicted the statement he gave to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Replying to Azrul’s question, Saidi admitted that there was a withdrawal of RM1.5 million from his account on Sept 7, 2016 and the money was given to Rosmah, in return for helping the company obtain a hybrid solar project for rural schools in Sarawak.

Azrul: How can you say the RM1.5 million was for Rosmah when you did not see her carrying a bag containing the money upstairs (referring to Rosmah’s house in Langgak Duta)

Saidi: I did not see Rosmah carrying the bag upstairs but the money was placed by my personal driver (Shamsul Rizal Sharbini) next to a green sofa in the living room of Rosmah’s house.

The 17th prosecution witness also disagreed that the RM1.5 million was withdrawn for other purposes and not given to Rosmah.

Azrul: I suggest that out of the RM1.5 million, you had used to pay for the diesel expenses of RM400,000 and Saidi replied: “I did pay, but not using the RM1.5 million, I have other money.”

Saidi agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that he paid RM300,000 for the construction of his sibling’s house, paid between RM200,000 and RM250,000 to buy a land in Kuching, gave RM200,000 to a technology company and contributed RM150,000 to his mother.

Asked if all the money was added, the amount would be about RM1.5 million, Saidi replied: “No, I do not agree.”

The prosecution’s key witness said he had been asked to explain to the MACC the details of the expenses proposed by the lawyer but could not remember whether he had explained to the MACC on each of the expense.

This caused the lawyer to request the prosecution to submit the recording of Saidi’s statement, however, the witness later interrupted, “I said I gave RM1.5 million to Datin Seri Rosmah”.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib objected to the defence application to obtain the recording of Saidi’s statement on the grounds that the witness repeatedly insisted that the RM1.5 million was given to the accused (Rosmah) and not spent for other purposes.

The tense atmosphere caused Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan to say: “You watched too much Parliament sessions”.

He then gave the defence time to decide whether to obtain documents related to the witness’ statement or to include the issue into their argument.

Azrul then suggested that Saidi did not have other means to pay for the expenses they highlighted, which the latter rejected.

Saidi said, “I have cash at home. How can it be that I don’t have money at all? But the RM1.5 million was specifically for Datin Seri Rosmah.

“I am a businessman, I have a lot of money and all transactions in cash…I also have money that I kept at home” he said.

Rosmah is facing one charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Saidi.

The bribes were allegedly received through her former aide, Datuk Rizal Mansor, as a reward for helping 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 Sept 2017.

The hearing continues Sept 7.