Rosmah tampered with witness, requested statement in her favour: Prosecution

Rosmah tampered with witness, requested statement in her favour: Prosecution

Rosmah Oct 4
Rosmah Mansor, wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is escorted by police personnel during her arrival at court in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 4, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution informed the Malaysian Sessions Court on Thursday (Oct 4) that Rosmah Mansor had approached a witness and requested a statement in her favour.

The wife of Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak had been charged with 17 offences, including receiving proceeds of illegal activities as well as failure to declare income tax.

The charges related to money laundering involved about RM7 million (US$1.7 million), Bernama news agency reported.

The 66-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges.

READ: Factbox: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia's former PM

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Retired judge Gopal Sri Ram, who is leading the prosecution team, raised the matter when he applied to the court to not grant bail to Rosmah on grounds that there was real danger of witness tampering.

“There is a more significant factor that we wish to bring forth to the court. When the prosecution recorded the statement from a witness, the accused (Rosmah) had approached the witness to make the statement in her favour. I have a copy of the police report,” he added.

He then tendered the police report made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to Judge Azura Alwi, who heard the case.

Sri Ram said the charges facing Rosmah were non-bailable offences, but it was the court’s discretion to grant bail or not.

He said based on the principle of law, bail should not be granted if there was a real danger of witness tampering.

“However, we ask for the bail to be set at RM10 million with two conditions where the accused must surrender her two passports and not contact any of the witnesses and potential witnesses between now and until the trial is over,” he added.

Rosmah’s lawyer, Geethan Ram Vincent, requested the court to consider the bail amount proposed by the prosecution, saying that the bail was only intended to ensure the presence of the accused in court.

In determining the bail amount, he said, the defence based it on the provisions in the law and referred to other similar cases.

"Firstly, in the latest case, where Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is facing 21 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the subject matter involved is RM2.6 billion and the bail that was fixed by the court was RM3.5 million, while in the case of Datuk Jaya Kumar, involving RM16.5 million, the bail was RM600,000.

"Based on these cases and the charges (facing Rosmah), which involves RM7 million, I propose bail of RM250,000 against my client. The amount is apt and reasonable to ensure her presence in court,” he added.

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Vincent said the court should also take into account the fact that his client was prepared to comply with the two conditions requested by the prosecution.

"My client brought along her two travel documents to be submitted to the court and she is prepared to promise to not go near any witness or potential witness linked to the prosecution’s case," he said.

He said Rosmah had also given her full cooperation to the MACC during the investigation and that she was called up three times by the commission to give her statement.

"The first time she was called up by MACC was last Jun 5, the second on Sep 26 and the last was Oct 3. She was present without fail and gave her full cooperation to MACC, despite the short notice by the commission.

"Her travel abroad has been barred since last May and until now, no effort was made by my client to attempt to leave the country,” he said.

Lawyer K Kumaraendran, who is the lead counsel for Rosmah, said the amount proposed by the prosecution was very excessive and asked the court not to consider the allegations made by the prosecution on witness tampering in fixing the bail amount.

Sri Ram countered that the amount suggested by Vincent was unreasonable as the court should consider Rosmah's standing.

"The accused has standing character but her character goes against her. A person of her standing should not be in the dock in the first place," he said 

He also said the prosecution proposed the amount of RM10 million after considering the facts of the case, including witness tampering.

Rosmah's bail was finally set at RM2 million, with RM500,000 to be paid on Thursday and the rest due by Oct 11.

Source: Bernama/Agencies/zl(hm)