Rosmah files appeals against bribery conviction, RM970m fine, jail term and failure to remove trial judge Zaini

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has today filed an appeal against her failure to remove High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from hearing her bribery case, and a separate appeal against his decision which found her guilty of corruption and sentenced her to jail and a RM970 million fine.

In a notice of appeal filed today at the Court of Appeal, Rosmah said she wanted to appeal against Zaini’s decision yesterday which rejected her application to recuse or remove him from the case. She had filed the recusal application on August 30, which was two days before Zaini was scheduled to deliver his verdict in her corruption trial.

In the other notice of appeal also filed today at the Court of Appeal, Rosmah said she was dissatisfied with Zaini’s entire decision yesterday in her bribery case, where the judge convicted her and sentenced her to jail and to pay a fine.

In other words, Rosmah is appealing against both the conviction and sentence.

When contacted, Rosmah’s lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader confirmed to Malay Mail that the notice of appeals had been filed.

Yesterday, Zaini had ruled that Rosmah is guilty of all three corruption charges under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, as he found that the prosecution had succeeded in proving these charges beyond reasonable doubt.

Zaini said Rosmah’s defence was a “bare denial” which was unsubstantiated and without credible evidence to create a reasonable doubt.

The judge sentenced Rosmah to 10 years’ imprisonment for each of the three charges and said these jail terms will run concurrently or simultaneously, and also sentenced her to pay a total RM970 million fine.

For the first charge of corruptly soliciting RM187.5 million as inducement to help Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd get a RM1.25 billion project via direct negotiations, she has to pay RM937.5 million (which is five times the amount of the bribe which she sought) or face an additional 10 years’ jail if the fine is not paid.

For the second charge of corruptly receiving RM1.5 million and the third charge of corruptly receiving RM5 million as a reward for helping the same company get the project, Rosmah is sentenced to pay RM7.5 million and RM25 million respectively (which are both five times the amount of the bribes received). Failure to pay these fines will also result in an additional 10 years’ jail time for each charge.

This means that the total jail time Rosmah could potentially have to serve is 40 years, if she does not succeed in her appeal.

The potential 40 years’ imprisonment period is calculated based on the first 10 years being the concurrent imprisonment term, and the remaining 30 years being the additional jail time if she does not pay the RM970 million fine (as the additional 10 years’ jail for the failure to pay the fine runs consecutively for each charge).

The project which Rosmah allegedly asked and allegedly received bribes for is a RM1.25 billion project for the supply of electricity to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

As Rosmah’s lawyers yesterday asked for the 10-year jail sentence and RM970 million fine to be suspended while she pursues an appeal and as the prosecution did not object to the request, the High Court yesterday allowed the suspension or stay of sentence until the Court of Appeal decides on her appeal.

Rosmah did not have to pay additional bail to avoid being in lock-up while pursuing her appeal, as the High Court allowed the previous RM2 million bail already posted to be extended to serve as her bail until the Court of Appeal decides on her appeal.

Rosmah was today seen at the Kuala Lumpur court complex, and also in the courtroom where her husband and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trial — over amendments to the auditor-general’s 2016 audit report on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — was being heard by Zaini.