In court, witness says Rosmah didn’t object when bags of cash were delivered to her house

R. Loheswar
·5-min read
Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd business partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah is pictured at Kuala Lumpur High Court on August 3, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd business partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah is pictured at Kuala Lumpur High Court on August 3, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Consultant Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah today testified in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial that she had not personally asked any of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd partners for money in exchange for helping them obtain the Letter of Award (SST) for the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project.

Rayyan, 40, a business partner of Jepak managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin said this during cross-examination by defence counsel Azrul Zulkifli Stork in the trial of the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Rosmah is accused of receiving RM1.5 million in two black bags with orange stripes that were allegedly brought to her house in Taman Duta and placed beside a sofa in the hall on September 7, 2017.

The bags were carried by Saidi’s driver Shamsul Rizal Sharbini into the house before he left while the rest waited for Rosmah.

The court was told that Rosmah was exercising at the time and came downstairs to meet the group after her workout in gym attire with a bandana on and was seen gasping for breath. She had a short five-minute meeting with the trio before excusing herself.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex, August 4, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex, August 4, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

In Rayyan’s testimony, he said Saidi told Rosmah that he had some money for her and that subsequent payments would be forthcoming, to which Rosmah merely nodded and replied, “Okay lah”.

Azrul: In that meeting with Rosmah, did you at any time see her personally ask you or Saidi for money for her services?

Rayyan: No.

Azrul: Was there ever a time she said she wanted 10-15 per cent from the total project cost?

Rayyan: No.

Azrul: So all instructions came from Rizal right?

Rayyan: Yes.

Azrul: So you didn’t know why you were going to her house but you said you felt it weird that so many payments were being made by Saidi to various people?

Rayyan: Yes.

Azrul also reiterated that Saidi had brought a set of documents on a new project to build tube wells to supply water to rural schools in Sarawak, to which Rosmah said she couldn’t help him and told Saidi to find his own way.

Azrul suggested that since Rayyan did not know what was in the bags, as he and Saidi came separately, they could have contained anything and not just cash as purported.

“You (Rayyan) only knew after you left the residence that the bags had money because Saidi told you but there was no mention of giving said bags to Rosmah. So how can you be so sure this money was for the solar hybrid project or for something else?” Azrul asked Rayyan.

“In reality you don’t know who took the bags after you left. So the ‘okay lah’ could refer to anything,” he added, to which Rayyan agreed, stating he had no idea what happened to the bags once they left.

At the time, the government had already made a first payment of RM63 million to Jepak to supply electricity through a solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

No work had started at that time and Rayyan said he was worried about the project ever being implemented, let alone commencing.

During cross-examination, prosecution lawyer and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram highlighted the fact that despite all the shady dealings and backdoor access to get Najib’s approval for the project, Rosmah had never protested against any of their actions, though it seemed criminal in nature.

He questioned Rayyan about Rosmah’s actions and demeanour when they were at her house, asking him to give a reason for bringing millions of ringgit there and what transpired after the fact.

Sri Ram: To you, what was the purpose of the contributions?

Rayyan: The offer was to make sure Saidi and Jepak got the solar hybrid project.

Sri Ram: What would happen if the money had not been paid?

Rayyan: Well, the minister at the time (Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid) was not cooperative so if we did not do what we did we won’t get the contract.

Sri Ram: So that was the second meeting with the accused. Go back to the first meeting in January or February of 2016. At the time, you said in your testimony that Saidi offered her 10 per cent of the total sum of the project and she replied, “Looking at the political situation now there’s a need for a lot of cash. We’ll see lah how it goes.” My question to you is: did the accused ask you or Saidi to get out of the house?

Rayyan: No.

Sri Ram: Did she utter any protest?

Rayyan: No, she just excused herself and left.

Sri Ram: Okay, now back to the second meeting at her home when the two bags were delivered. When you were leaving, did the accused ask for the bags to be removed? Did anyone tell you to take the bags and get out of the house?

Rayyan: No, she didn’t protest.

Sri Ram: So even after Saidi said he had a little money for her now and more will be forthcoming she never made any protests against this?

Rayyan: She did not.

In this trial, Rosmah is facing several charges, including allegedly receiving a RM5 million bribe and a RM1.5 million bribe from Jepak Holdings and Saidi, on December 20, 2016 and September 7, 2017, in exchange for helping the company get the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project.

The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan resumes tomorrow with Saidi expected to take the stand.

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