Defence closes case in Rosmah's solar project trial, oral submissions on April 5

KUALA LUMPUR: The defence in the trial of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (pic), who faces charges involving a solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak, has closed its case after calling two witnesses on Wednesday (Feb 23).

High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan set April 5 to hear oral submissions from both parties after counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh, representing Rosmah, told the court that the defence had closed its case.

"I will reserve the whole day to hear the submissions. With that, I conclude our 42 days of trial with 25 witnesses (23 from the prosecution and two from the defence including Rosmah) in several rounds on MCO (movement control order)," the judge said.

He also fixed March 9 for the prosecution to file written submissions and March 30 for the defence to reply.

On Feb 18 last year, he ordered Rosmah to enter her defence on all three corruption charges involving the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against her.

Rosmah, 70, faces one charge of soliciting RM187.5mil and two charges of accepting bribes amounting to RM6.5mil from the former managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, Saidi Abang Samsudin.

The bribe was allegedly received through her former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor as a reward to help Jepak Holdings obtain the Integrated Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Hybrid System Project as well as genset/diesel maintenance and operations for 369 schools worth RM1.25bil through direct negotiations from the Education Ministry.

The judge also dismissed the defence team's request to recall star witness Saidi to testify regarding the withdrawal of RM1.5mil allegedly given to Rosmah.

He said the defence had not raised any valid grounds to recall Saidi, also the 17th prosecution witness (PW17), and it would not serve the interests of justice to allow the application.

"I have gone through every page of the notes of proceedings pertaining to PW17 subjected to many days of cross-examination and vigorously cross-examined on the subject matter that the defence wishes to revisit.

"I also note that the subject matter had been extensively addressed when the defence made an application to impeach PW17.

"To recall PW17 based on the reasons given by the defence will be tantamount to subjecting him to another round of cross-examination on the subject that I fully addressed. Therefore, the application is dismissed," he added.

Earlier, another of Rosmah's lawyers Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader submitted that Saidi's testimony contradicted the statement he gave to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

"Saidi gave two versions... When he testified, he said the RM1.5mil withdrawn from his account in September 2016 was given to Rosmah in return for helping the company obtain (the project).

"However, when giving his statement to the MACC, Saidi said he used it for several purposes including to buy land in Kuching," the lawyer said.

Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram countered that PW17 was subjected to a lengthy and searching cross-examination over a period of three days.

"Every opportunity was given to the accused (Rosmah) to test the veracity of the witness. With respect, to permit a recall would militate against the justice of the case," he said, adding that the defence was trying to delay the trial. – Bernama

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