Najib ordered direct award of solar project without price review, court told

  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 Feb 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had ordered Finance Ministry (Treasury) deputy secretary-general Datuk Othman Semail to proceed with a direct award of the solar hybrid project to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, the High Court heard on Monday (Feb 17).

Othman, who is the seventh prosecution witness for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial, said that the Education Ministry had issued a letter of award (LOA) to Jepak Holdings on Nov 10, 2016.

“Even though the solar hybrid project was said to have been awarded to Jepak Holdings via direct tender, to my knowledge, the guidelines and the process over the negotiation of the price (project quotation) was not done before the LOA was issued to Jepak Holdings.

“There was no negotiation made between the Education Ministry and Jepak Holdings to obtain the best price before the LOA was issued,” he said.

Othman told the court that the RM1.25bil was set by Jepak Holdings from the start and received without protest by the Education Ministry.

“As far as I know, there was no value management made even though it was made compulsory on physical projects that cost more than RM50mil.

“From the documents that I have seen, I never had a clear picture on the need to implement a solar hybrid project, the project's scope, and the Education Ministry's capabilities to fund (the project) as well as Jepak Holdings' capabilities to execute this project,” he said.

When Najib was prime minister, Othman was the Finance Ministry's government procurement division chief.

He added that Najib had given him the order to proceed with Jepak Holdings' application through a note which he wrote on a letter from the company on July 23, 2016.

Earlier, Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad, who was the former Education Ministry secretary-general, told the court that there was no tangible or intangible benefit to the solar hybrid project.

Echoing Othman’s view, she said that the solar hybrid project was a high risk project that should be planned well and executed carefully, as it cost RM1.25bil.

The trial continues before High Court Judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan on Tuesday (Feb 18).

Headline and story have been reworded to be more accurate

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