Malaysian ex-official, son jailed for graft over solar projects

Former secretary-general of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, Mohd Arif Ab Rahman (centre), and son Ahmad Zukhairi (left) being taken to the Sessions Court yesterday.
Former secretary-general of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, Mohd Arif Ab Rahman (centre), and son Ahmad Zukhairi (left) being taken to the Sessions Court yesterday.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • The former secretary-general of Malaysia's Rural and Regional Development Ministry, Mohd Arif Ab Rahman, and his son Ahmad Zukhairi have been sentenced to jail for soliciting and accepting bribes to award hybrid solar system projects worth hundreds of million ringgit to certain firms.

Mohd Arif was sentenced to three years' jail and fined RM3 million (S$987,700) by the Sessions Court here for abetting his eldest son in accepting a $200,000 bribe.

His 36-year-old son Ahmad Zukhairi was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and fined RM9.6 million after he was found guilty of four counts of soliciting and accepting bribes.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi said in her ruling yesterday that there was overwhelming evidence against the two. "The defence has failed to give an honest explanation that can be accepted by the court, (and have) thus failed to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case," she said.

On the defence lawyer's application, the judge granted a stay of execution on both the jail time and fines, pending an appeal by the defendants. She also ordered for bail to be raised from RM200,000 to RM500,000 in one surety each.

Mohd Arif, 61, was charged with abetting Ahmad Zukhairi by accepting $200,000 from Syarikat Wazlina director Mohd Safian Mohd Salleh. The bribe was an inducement for a hybrid solar system project on four remote islands off Sandakan, Sabah worth RM60 million which was awarded to Syarikat Eramaz, an associate company of Syarikat Wazlina.

Ahmad Zukhairi was charged with accepting the money from the same person for himself and his father. He was also charged with soliciting a two per cent commission from the Syarikat Wazlina director as a bribe to assist Eramaz in securing the Solar Hybrid Rural Electricity Supply project on six islands in Sandakan worth RM60 million.

Mohd Arif, 61, was charged with abetting Ahmad Zukhairi by accepting $200,000 from Syarikat Wazlina director Mohd Safian Mohd Salleh. The bribe was an inducement for a hybrid solar system project on four remote islands off Sandakan, Sabah worth RM60 million which was awarded to Syarikat Eramaz, an associate company of Syarikat Wazlina.

He had allegedly solicited the RM1.2 million commission for his father, who was still serving as secretary-general then, and himself at Grand Dorsett Hotel in Subang Jaya in March 2016.

Separately, more charges will be brought today against Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak.

According to a statement from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday, she will face charges in several cases linked to solar power supply and installation projects in schools in Sarawak.

Najib's former special officer Rizal Mansor will also be charged in the same cases.

Last month, Rosmah was charged with 17 counts of money laundering involving over RM7 million.

In a separate case, prosecutors will charge Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who served as Federal Territories Minister under Najib, as well as businessman Tan Eng Boon, in relation to the sale of Kuala Lumpur City Hall land.

The MP for Putrajaya has denied any involvement in the under-priced land deals, saying that he had handed over land matters to the Prime Minister's Department.

Tengku Adnan is treasurer of Umno, which held power in Malaysia for six decades until its ouster in May.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian ex-official, son jailed for graft over solar projects'. Print Edition | Subscribe