KUALA LUMPUR: The defence suggested that prosecution witness Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid was a liar as they tried to discredit his account of a series of events related to the solar hybrid project in Sarawak during an emotionally charged day three of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial.
This allegation stemmed from a line in the former education minister’s witness statement which said that he had never received any bribe from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Shamsul – a line that the defence took issue with.
“I never asked for or received a bribe from Saidi in regard to the solar hybrid project. There was no pressing need to.
“I only followed the instructions of Najib (Razak) to carry out the solar hybrid project, ” said Mahdzir, reading out his witness statement at the High Court here yesterday.
Datuk Jagjit Singh, lead defence counsel to the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, then alleged that Mahdzir’s trip to London in 2015 was funded by Saidi.
Jagjit: Do you remember sometime in December 2015 you went to London on a family trip?
Mahdzir: I don’t remember the date.
Jagjit: Would you agree that you told Saidi of your family trip to London and he gave you RM50,000 as expenses.
Mahdzir: I disagree.
Jagjit: Saidi said this in his statement to the prosecution and to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Jagjit: So, it is either you or Saidi lying.
The defence said the “pressure” felt by Mahdzir was due to him receiving the RM50,000 without delivering on his promise to approve Jepak Holdings’ solar hybrid project proposal.
“The pressure was because you had already received corruption money of RM50,000, ” said Jagjit.
Jagjit then accused Mahdzir of trading his credibility and honesty to escape being charged with corruption himself.
“You have sold your credibility and honesty to the prosecution to testify in court so that they won’t press charges against you.
“You struck a deal with MACC and the prosecution, ” said Jagjit.
Mahdzir, however, disagreed with the defence’s allegations.
During cross-examination, the defence also raised numerous questions concerning a series of letters submitted as prosecution evidence, among which one letter in a series of three was not submitted in court.
Jagjit alleged that the letter that was not submitted in court had a note scribbled on it by Mahdzir to the Education Ministry secretary-general asking for Jepak Holdings to be allowed to give a presentation on its proposal.
Jagjit claimed that this letter was of importance as the note scribbled on it was what prompted Najib to green light Jepak Holdings’ proposal.
Mahdzir denied the claim.
Earlier, a heated exchange between prosecution and defence took place in court, with Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan interjecting.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had asked for permission to play the infamous “Can I advise you something” recording, originally released by MACC in January, so that Mahdzir could identify the persons in it.
The defence immediately objected to this.
Jagjit said the recording had not been shared with the defence.
“We don’t have the transcript and we don’t know what will come out. We should at least have a transcript of the recording first, ” he said.
However, Sri Ram said the recording would only be played for the witness to identify the voices in it.
Jagjit then argued that the playing of the recording would be prejudicial to the accused.
“If you play it now, it will be published by the press, ” he said.
Justice Mohamed Zaini interjected.
“Fortunately, this is a trial by court, not trial by press, ” he said before allowing the recording to be played.
A snippet of the clip was played by the prosecution and Mahdzir identified the voices as belonging to Najib and Rosmah.
The trial continues today.