Mahdzir denies gambling habit claims

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (pic) was a “corrupt” person who tried to implicate Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in a solar hybrid project case to evade corruption charges against him, the High Court heard.

The defence team of the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak accused the former Education Minister of striking a deal with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and prosecutors to become a “star witness” in exchange for him escaping prosecution.

Yesterday, the court heard claims by Rosmah’s defence team about Mahdzir’s “gambling habit” and how he had sought for a RM60mil bribe from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Shamsul for approving the solar hybrid project.

During cross-examination on the fourth day of Rosmah’s graft trial, lead defence counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh said that Mahdzir had originally wanted Saidi to appoint a “Haji Puad” as a consultant for the project, adding that this person would act as a conduit for the money that Mahdzir was supposed to receive.

Jagjit: I put it to you that you had demanded 20% of the project cost from Saidi and he disagreed.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: After discussing with Saidi, he agreed to pay you RM1mil per month for a period of five years which makes this a total of RM60mil.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: After Saidi agreed to pay the RM1mil per month for five years, you, in your minutes (on the project), made a note to “expedite the papers for the Finance Ministry immediately”.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: You initially asked for 20% which would amount to RM250mil but they disagreed and reduced the amount to RM1mil per month for five years.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: This makes you the most corrupt Education Minister since Aug 31,1957.

Jagjit questioned Mahdzir’s account in his witness statement of him approving the project due to pressure from Saidi and Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, his business partner, claiming instead that Mahdzir had approved it due to his own personal interest in it.

The court then heard that Mahdzir had asked the then-Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad to remove a clause from the letter of acceptance of tender which Saidi and Rayyan wanted to ensure that he would get the “corrupt monies”.

The clause that was removed said that the government would have the right to terminate the work or activity within the contract period, the court was told.

Jagjit: When they said you were not fit to be Education Minister, you were so upset you told the prime minister about it, yet you entertained them in your house. Is your conduct consistent? You told the prime minister you despised them but then after that you happily had them in your house.

Mahdzir: This is an order by the prime minister (giving out the letter of acceptance of tender)

Jagjit: The order from the prime minister is not for you to receive corrupt monies. Did the prime minister tell you to remove clause 11?

Mahdzir: No.

The defence alleged that Mahdzir needed the money to fund his “gambling habit”, an accusation that Mahdzir vehemently denied.

Jagjit: When you travelled to Alor Setar, you travelled by private jet?

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: You travelled by private jets during campaign periods?

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: Did you also use private jets for your gambling trips to Macau, Singapore and Perth?

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit: Have you ever rented a private jet for yourself?

Mahdzir: No.

Jagjit: What if I get the travel records from the private jet company?

Mahdzir: Okay.

Jagjit: You don’t gamble at all? You need all this money to feed your gambling habit.

Mahdzir: I disagree.

Jagjit then questioned Mahdzir why he never personally contacted Rosmah over the solar hybrid project despite his wife being good friends with Rosmah.

To this, Mahdzir gave two reasons for not doing so; one being that as the wife of the then-prime minister there was a distance between Rosmah and him, and secondly, he trusted Datuk Rizal Mansor’s words as Rosmah’s aide.

The court then heard that Mahdzir had implicated Najib and Rosmah on the solar hybrid project to save himself.

Jagjit added Mahdzir had appointed a lawyer to broker a deal with the MACC after he was told by them that he would soon be charged with corruption.

He alleged that Mahdzir’s lawyer, who was only referred to as Datuk Viknesh in court, used his friendship with lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram to broker a deal with the prosecution so that he could avoid being charged for corruption.

“Datuk Viknesh wrote a letter of representation (for you to escape prosecution).

“MACC was not happy that you were not being charged because the evidence against you was overwhelming while the evidence against Rosmah was inconclusive, ” he said.

Mahdzir disagreed with this claim.

The trial continues today before High Court Judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.

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