KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has acquitted Datuk Rizal Mansor of four charges of soliciting and receiving a RM218mil bribe for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor over a solar hybrid project in Sarawak.
High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the decision after lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram informed the court that the prosecution had withdrawn all the charges against Rizal, who was Rosmah's aide.
Sri Ram also told the Court that the prosecution was supposed to hand over the witness statement to the defence on Jan 6, but could only do so Wednesday (Jan 8).
Justice Zaini then made the order of discharge and acquittal against Rizal and ordered him to leave the accused dock, leaving Rosmah in the dock alone.
Lawyer Datuk Jagjit Singh, who represented Rosmah, asked for the court to allow more time for the defence to study the witness statement by vacating the hearing dates next month and in March.
"We are surprised by this (acquittal) and we have to arrange our defence strategy and study the witness statement," he said.
Justice Zaini however rejected the request and ordered for the hearing to begin on Feb 3 as scheduled.
On May 30, last year, Justice Zaini fixed for Rosmah and Rizal's cases to be jointly tried.
The hearing dates are Feb 3-6, Feb 10-13, Feb 17-20, March 9-12, and April 6-9, April 13-16, April 20-23 and April 27-30 with the exception of Fridays.
On Oct 4,2018, Rosmah was charged with 17 counts of money laundering amounting to more than RM7mil.
The hearing dates for the money laundering case are in May (11-14,18-21), June (29-30) and July (1,2, 6-9,13-16).
On Nov 15,2018, she was hauled to court for the second time to face graft charges involving RM187.5mil over a solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Rizal was charged with four counts of graft.
He allegedly solicited RM212.5mil and received bribes amounting to RM5.5mil on behalf of Rosmah and himself in assisting Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to obtain the project to supply diesel, repair generators, and provide solar hybrid systems to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
In a short statement, Rizal's lawyer Ridha Abdah Subri said the prosecution's decision to acquit his client came as a relief.
"Rizal has always been cooperative and respectful of the due process of law," he said.
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