Najib’s wife Rosmah fails to show up in court as she is still in Singapore, ordered to appear next Monday
KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, has failed to show up in court on Thursday (Dec 2) for a hearing of her bid to nullify her bribery trial and remove the lead prosecutor, local media reported.
The Court of Appeal allowed the proceeding to be adjourned to next Monday, as requested by Rosmah’s lawyer Jagjit Singh who said she has not returned to Malaysia.
Rosmah had earlier applied for her passport to be temporarily released for her to travel to Singapore to be with her daughter Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib, who was due to deliver her second child.
While the lead prosecutor, Mr Gopal Sri Ram, urged the court to issue an arrest warrant against Rosmah for breaching a court order, a three-judge panel unanimously decided to give Rosmah a chance and withhold issuing a warrant, according to the New Straits Times.
"We also noted the explanation put forth by the appellant's counsel particularly as to the oversight on the part of the counsel in advising the appellant to appear in court today. We have also noted that the appellant's counsel's submissions that thus far the appellant has never been absent at the High Court proceedings.
"Having considered the above reasons, we are exercising our discretion to withhold issuing a warrant of arrest against the appellant at this juncture and would give an opportunity for the appellant to appear before us as undertaken by the appellant’s counsel,” Judge Hanipah Farikullah was quoted as saying by Bernama.
"Therefore, as agreed by both parties, today's hearing will be adjourned to Dec 6 for continued hearing," she added.
According to the High Court order on Oct 15, Rosmah was supposed to be back from her trip to Singapore by Nov 21 and return her passport to the authorities by Dec 6.
On Nov 29, Mdm Nooryana Najwa posted a photo on her Facebook showing Najib holding her newborn child, with Rosmah by his side.
Najib, who also faces corruption charges, had applied to have his passport temporarily released as well. He joined his family in Singapore after the Melaka state election.
In the court on Thursday morning, Judge Hanipah was reported to have queried whether Rosmah was present in court, to which Mr Jagjit replied that his client was still in Singapore.
Mr Jagjit said there was a change in her travel plans after taking into consideration the change in quarantine rules under the newly launched vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Malaysia and Singapore.
Another lawyer for Rosmah, Mr Akberdin Abdul Kader, told the court that they had written to the Court of Appeal registry to notify them that Rosmah will return to Malaysia on Dec 6.
Mr Gopal, the lead prosecutor, asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest and for Rosmah’s bail to be revoked for breaching the court order.
"We are not talking about children; we are talking about adults who know what their responsibilities and liabilities are. My only point is the order is not obeyed. If this had been a case of a normal citizen, an Ahmad bin Abdul, Muniandy or Ah Chong, it would have been different. I don't know why it should be different with Rosmah binti Mansor and not Ahmad bin Abdul.
"We have to be guided by the court order. If people are going to ignore this then what is the point of making these orders? The natural order is (that) a warrant of arrest must be issued and bail must be cancelled," he said, according to Bernama.
Mr Gopal also added that Rosmah should not be treated differently from other accused persons or the public will lose confidence in the courts.
ROSMAH FACES CORRUPTION CHARGES OVER SCHOOLS’ HYBRID SOLAR PROJECT
Rosmah, 69, is facing corruption charges involving a hybrid solar project worth RM1.25 billion (US$296 million) for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
She is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from contractor Saidi Abang Samsudin in the Sarawak schools solar hybrid project, as well as receiving RM6.5 million in cash from him.
It was alleged that the money was meant to help Saidi’s company, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, secure the project.
Rosmah is appealing to have the trial nullified and to remove Mr Gopal as the lead prosecutor.
On Oct 4, the Court of Appeal rejected Rosmah’s application to adjourn her corruption trial while waiting for the decision on the appeal.
Following the decision, Rosmah testified as a defence witness during the hearing held at the High Court on Oct 5. The trial is scheduled to resume on Dec 8.