Crime & Justice

Malaysian high court orders ex-PM’s wife to defend graft charges

Bangkok Desk, Feb 18 (efe-epa).- Malaysia’s high court ordered Thursday that the wife of Former Prime Minister Najib Razak enter defence on corruption charges over an infrastructure project worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to state media reports.

The court said there was credible evidence to support the charges against Rosmah Mansor, accused in two counts of receiving bribes worth 6.5 million ringgit ($1.6 million) and one count of soliciting 187.5 million ringgit, the Bernama news agency reported.

“On the maximum evaluation of the evidence, I find the prosecution has proven a prima facie case on the accused on all charges,” Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said, referring to the legal term for establishing sufficient presumption of a possible crime. “I therefore call for the accused to enter her defence.”

The project in question is a solar hybrid initiative for 369 rural schools in Malaysia’s Sarawak state worth 1.25 billion ringgit. Rosmah allegedly received bribes from Saidi Abang Samsudin, former managing director of Jepak Holdings, for his firm to secure the project.

The bribes are thought to have come through former special officer Rizal Mansor. The scheme was set to grant the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project to the firm, which would have also overseen its maintenance through negotiations with the Education Ministry.

If found guilty, Rosmah, 69, faces up to 20 years in prison and a heavy fine. The former prime minister’s wife said she’d testify from the witness stand under oath.

The incident adds to Rosmah’s already tarnished reputation, after having been accused along with Najib of channelling hundreds of millions of dollars from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad into their private bank accounts. The case has been ongoing since 2015, during which time Najib has been arrested several times. EFE-EPA


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