Former Education Ministry sec-gen denies making Rosmah a scapegoat in solar project

(Bernama) – A witness in the corruption trial of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over the supply and installation of solar energy systems in 369 schools in Sarawak, was accused of making the former prime minister’s wife a scapegoat in the case.

Counsel Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kadir who was representing Rosmah suggested former Education Ministry (KPM) secretary-general (KSU) Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad was doing so to save himself from being linked to the solar project contract fraud by Jepak Holdings.

“I am proposing that your statement is just a self-saving statement, you only wanted to make my client as a scapegoat,” said Akberdin and Alias replied ‘disagree’.

The 12th prosecution witness was giving his statement on the 15th day trial of the case in which Rosmah, 68, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two charges of receiving a bribe of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings managing director, Saidi Abang Samsudin.

The bribe was allegedly received via Rosmah’s former aide, Datuk Rizal Mansor as gratification for helping Jepak Holdings to secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Integrated System as well as the maintenance and operation of genset/diesel for 369 rural Sarawak schools valued at RM1.25 billion in direct negotiation with KPM.

The offences were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra, here; her residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and Sept 7 2017.

In his earlier statement, Alias told the court that Rosmah had asked him to expedite the signing of the hybrid solar project contract in Sarawak apart from asking him on the development of advance payment to Jepak.

Akberdin when cross-examining Alias, 62, was also seen pressuring the witness who held the post of KSU from Sept 5 2016 to May 22 2018 including accusing Alias and former Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid of working in cahoots with Jepak.

Akberdin: I am suggesting that you and Mahdzir were actually in cahoot with Jepak and that is why you did not take action against Jepak which admitted committing fraud under the terms of the contract.

Alias: Disagree, this is an accusation against me. KPM had given three proposals to settle the issue , including conducting an internal investigation, amending the contract and lodging a police report.

Akberdin: Was a police report made?

Alias: I was informed that the three proposals were not carried out as I learned the related files had been taken by MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) and that is why it was not carried out.

Akberdin: MACC was not in the picture (investigating) at that time, actually you did not allow KPM to lodge the police report. Forgive me, I am saying you are responsible for obstructing your officer from making the police report.

Alias: Disagree, it is a serious allegation against me.

Akberdin was later seen attempting to prove the close relations between Alias and Saidi to the court when he presented two photographs of Alias with Saidi and Mahdzir at a wedding.

The lawyer proceeded to ask Alias whether he had attended the wedding of one of Saidi’s children and the witness replied never.

“The picture was actually taken at the wedding of my daughter and it was attended by Mahdzir and Saidi. I did not invite him (Saidi) but he came with the minister (Mahdzir),” said Alias.

When cross-examined by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, Alias said in his 37-year service in the ministry , the hybrid solar project in Sarawak was the only one which violated the guidelines stipulated by treasury.

Ahmad Akram: As the guarding officer then, why did you allow the violation to happen?

Alias: There was approval from the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak through a letter dated Nov 7 2016 to speed up awarding the project to Jepak as well as project procurement process and there was a request by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to expedite the signing of the contract of the hybrid solar project in Sarawak.

The trial before Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues today.