Rosmah must begin defence in trial on Tuesday, says prosecution

(FMT) – Rosmah Mansor’s defence in her corruption trial linked to the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid energy project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak must begin on Tuesday as her lawyers have been given adequate time to prepare her case, the prosecution has said.

“Public interest and the interest of justice require criminal cases to proceed expeditiously.

“The defence team has had ample time to prepare for the forthcoming trial,” said deputy public prosecutor Poh Yin Tinn in the affidavit to oppose Rosmah’s move to obtain a stay.

The wife of former prime minister Najib Razak wants a stay of proceedings pending the outcome of her appeal to disqualify Gopal Sri Ram as senior deputy public prosecutor and declare the proceeding a nullity.

The stay application will be heard in the Court of Appeal tomorrow as trial judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan had on Sept 24 refused to postpone her case.

In the affidavit sighted by FMT, Poh, in outlining the chronology of events, said Zaini ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on Feb 18 after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against her.

He said her defence was scheduled for seven days in June and another two days in July.

However, on May 6 she filed the interlocutory applications to recuse Sri Ram and declare the trial a nullity.

Poh said on May 28, the defence had also served the prosecution with Rosmah’s witness statement before she was scheduled to give evidence under oath.

The application was scheduled to be heard on June 3 by way of a remote proceeding but later rescheduled to July 12 as the defence objected to the virtual hearing.

He said the defence had also agreed then that Rosmah should take the witness stand on July 15.

However, the proceeding on the applications was also fixed for July 15 at the request of Rosmah’s lawyers.

He said Zaini then fixed Sept 9 to deliver his ruling on the applications and the parties agreed to the rescheduled dates for Rosmah to begin her defence for five days from Oct 5 and another day in November.

Poh, however, said ruling on the applications was delivered only on Sept 24 as Zaini was indisposed.

He said on Sept 24, Rosmah’s lead counsel Jagjit Singh also made a scathing comment bordering on contempt of court against the judge, insinuating that he had been unfair to the defence by giving the prosecution the luxury of time in the past.

Poh said the prosecution will also raise a preliminary objection tomorrow to the stay application as it contends that it is not appealable.

“I respectfully state that there are no extraordinary or unusual circumstances to warrant a stay and the application be dismissed,” he said.

Zaini had ruled Sri Ram’s appointment under the Criminal Procedure Code by then attorney-general Tommy Thomas in August 2018 was valid.

He also accepted the alternative submission by the prosecution that the present Attorney-General Idrus Harun’s backdated appointment letter for Sri Ram, which was issued on May 21, could “cure” any defect by Thomas.

Rosmah is charged with soliciting RM187.5 million from contractor Saidi Abang Samsudin in a solar panel project for Sarawak schools, as well as receiving RM6.5 million in cash from him.

It is alleged that the money was meant to help Saidi’s company, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, to secure the RM1.25 billion project.