Judge wants Rosmah’s graft trial completed on Feb 15

(The Star) – The judge presiding over Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial linked to the RM1.25 billion Sarawak solar energy project wants the prosecution and defence lawyers to give priority for this case so it can be concluded on Feb 15.

“I want you to write to the other courts to ask for an adjournment (of other cases). This case should be given priority as it involves the last (defence) witness,” judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said today.

Whatever happens, he said, the defence case will be completed on that day.

Zaini fixed the hearing to resume at 2pm on Feb 15 after Siti Azizah Sheikh Abod, the former special officer to former prime minister Najib Razak, could not be present as she is under home quarantine after returning from performing the umrah on Jan 30.

A letter written by defence lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader to the court on Jan 31 said Siti Azizah’s quarantine would only end tomorrow.

Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court he would take about 90 minutes to cross-examine Siti Azizah before Zaini could proceed to give directions to parties on submission dates.

Earlier, lawyer Azrul Zulkifli Stork, from Rosmah’s legal team, explained to the judge that Siti Azizah had been scheduled to arrive home on Jan 28 but the departure was delayed due to flight cancellation.

Zaini said he thought Azrul had informed the court on Dec 24 that Siti Azizah was to return on Jan 20, but Azrul said he remembered saying it was Jan 28.

Sri Ram interjected and said: “It is a pronunciation problem. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Zaini said he accepted Azrul’s explanation.

Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from former Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, through her former aide, Rizal Mansor, as an inducement to help the company secure the solar energy project for rural schools in Sarawak.

She is also accused of receiving bribes amounting to RM5 million from Saidi through Rizal at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya on Dec 20, 2016.

Rosmah is said to have received another RM1.5 million from Saidi at Jalan Langgak Duta here on Sept 7, 2017.

The trial began on Feb 5, 2020, and Zaini ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on Feb 18 last year.