KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told that Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was feared by those working in the public service due to her reputation as the “fierce wife” of the then prime minister, but this was merely their perception.
Her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor, 46, testified that Rosmah was seen as the spouse who could influence the decision and action of the country's premier, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"In the eyes of the public servants, Rosmah has the ability to influence the prime minister in transferring government servants who oppose or defy her requests to lesser positions, or in other words, to be put in ‘cold storage’, or have them moved to places farther than where they live," he said here on Wednesday (Sept 9).
This perception was gathered during his time mingling with public servants, and Rizal said at this point, he did not believe it to be true and regarded it as only rumours to ruin Rosmah's reputation.
"As her special officer, I would always defend her image to these people," he said.
Rizal was reading from his 46-page witness statement during Rosmah's corruption trial where she is accused of graft involving a solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak.
The 21st prosecution witness was first charged with four counts of similar graft offences involving the same project but was acquitted this January.
He also told the court that he was working with Media Prima’s TV3 when he went for an interview with one Datuk Seri Siti Azizah Abod at the Prime Minister's Office for the position of "media officer to the prime minister's wife".
He was appointed as Rosmah's media officer in 2009 on a contract basis, which was renewable every two years until 2018.
During those years, the official name to his position changed several times – special officer, special functions officer, assistant to the special functions officer, and chief assistant to the special division senior manager.
Despite the name change, Rizal said his job scope had never changed and that was the special officer to the prime minister's wife.
Apart from managing's Rosmah's media relations, Rizal also worked on handling the controversies and bad publicity surrounding his boss.
Rizal said he set up a team of cybertroopers in 2012 as directed by Rosmah.
"This team needed to rebut and explain all the slander and allegations against Rosmah to the public.
"The cybertroopers operated from funds given by Rosmah herself. She would give me RM100,000 in cash monthly to sustain the team," he said.
Rosmah, 69, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5mil and two charges of receiving a bribe of RM6.5mil from Jepak Holdings managing director, Saidi Abang Samsudin.
The bribe was allegedly received via Rosmah’s former aide Rizal, as gratification for helping Jepak Holdings to secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Integrated System as well as the maintenance and operation of the Genset/Diesel for 369 rural Sarawak schools valued at RM1.25bil in direct negotiation with MOE.
The offences were allegedly committed at Lygon Cafe, Sunway Putra Mall, Jalan Putra, here; her residence at Jalan Langgak Duta, Taman Duta, and at Seri Perdana, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Precinct 10, Putrajaya between January 2016 and Sept 7,2017.
The hearing continues before Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan next Monday (Sept 14).
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