Najib’s wife Rosmah sentenced to 10 years in jail, fined RM970 million for solar project corruption case
During mitigation, Rosmah Mansor asked the court for compassion as a “woman taking over a man’s role in the house”, referring to the incarceration of her husband Najib Razak.
KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was found guilty of corruption on Thursday (Sep 1).
The Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced her to 10 years in jail and a fine of RM970 million (US$216 million).
Rosmah, 70, was charged with soliciting RM187.5 million in bribes from contractor Saidi Abang Samsudin in 2016 and 2017 so that his company Jepak Holdings could secure a RM1.25 billion government project to supply solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak state.
She was also accused of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Saidi at the prime minister’s official residence and then later at her private residence in Kuala Lumpur between December 2016 and September 2017.
In delivering the judgment, High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said on Thursday: “The prosecution has succeeded in proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused has been found guilty of all three charges.”
Rosmah was sentenced to 10 years in jail for each charge. All three prison terms will run concurrently.
There will be a stay of execution pending appeal at the Court of Appeal. She will be allowed to remain on her current bail of RM2 million.
"I AM A VICTIM"
During mitigation, Rosmah told the court that she was saddened by the decision.
“To me, the courtroom is where we get justice. I have always told my lawyers to speak the truth and to never lie,” she said, insisting that she has never solicited money.
She also begged for compassion as a “woman taking over a man’s role in the house”, referring to how Najib is now serving time in jail.
“It took me by surprise how things can twist and turn and make me a victim. I have never ever influenced my husband. Every time I opened my mouth, my husband would say, ‘Rosmah, you are just my wife, don’t interfere.’
"I am a victim of all this. You have done it to my husband and you want my family to suffer,” she said.
The court case started in February 2020 and ended on Feb 23 this year, after 42 days of trial. The proceedings were affected by delays, including over Rosmah’s health issues and a witness being placed on home surveillance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FAILED BID TO RECUSE HIGH COURT JUDGE
On Tuesday, Rosmah filed an application at the High Court, seeking the removal of Judge Mohamed Zaini who heard her corruption trial.
According to Malaysian media reports, Rosmah contended that she has lost faith in the judge's ability to hear her corruption case following the recent alleged leak of a judgment that purportedly pronounced her guilty in the matter.
Rosmah claimed to have read an article by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin on how she will be pronounced guilty on Sep 1.
She said she was shocked to read the article, which stated that the judgment against her was ready. The article also wrote that the judgment was not prepared by the judge himself but rather prepared on his behalf.
Her application was dismissed on Thursday.
Judge Mohamed Zaini stated that he has always written his own court judgments. “Anyone can form opinions but the only opinions that matter at the end of the day is mine,” he said, adding that judges were not there to make popular decisions.
Last Tuesday, Najib began a 12-year prison term after losing his final appeal over seven charges in a case involving funds from the former unit of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). He still has at least four other pending court cases.
Last Friday, the Malaysia Today news site posted a document it described as containing a guilty judgment against Rosmah.
The police said that the leaked court document had been edited, while denying allegations that it was a draft of the verdict.
The Federal Court later also described the website's action as “a deliberate act" to smear the court's reputation.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Rosmah’s lead counsel Jagjit Singh said there were still unanswered questions over the leaked document.
“Where do we go from here? There are two articles now considered as opinions. Who gave the instructions to prepare these documents and why was it addressed to the judge?” he said.
On the guilty verdict, ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the sentences were to send a clear message to would-be offenders and “stop them dead in their tracks”.