Malaysia ex-PM Najib’s wife Rosmah grilled for nearly 13 hours by graft officers

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office by 9.50am on Sept 26, 2018.
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office by 9.50am on Sept 26, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS) - The luxury-loving wife of Malaysia’s former prime minister on Wednesday (Sept 26) faced a marathon questioning session by investigators probing the multi-billion-dollar scandal that helped topple her husband’s government.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, widely reviled in Malaysia due to her profligate spending and imperious manner, arrived at the anti-corruption agency accompanied by her lawyer before 10am and left after nearly 13 hours inside the complex, at around 10.40pm. 

She told reporters as she was leaving: “I am okay, alhamdulillah (Allah be praised)”. 

Local media have reported that officials are wrapping up their probe into Madam Rosmah and her links to the alleged plundering of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and she could be charged soon.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull was quoted as saying on Monday that the investigations on her had been completed and the report had been submitted to the Attorney General. He said it was up to the A-G to prosecute her. 

It was also reported on Sept 20 that the MACC was not ruling out the possibility that Madam Rosmah, 66, would be charged soon.

It was the second time the 66-year-old has been questioned by the graft-fighting body since her husband Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional coalition was unexpectedly ousted from office at elections in May after six decades in power.

Her first round of questioning in June lasted three hours. 

A major factor in the loss were allegations that Najib, his family and his cronies looted billion of dollars from 1MDB in an audacious fraud that stretched from Singapore to Switzerland.

The US Department of Justice has alleged more than US$4.5 billion (S$6.14 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about US$680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account.  

Najib was last week hit with a barrage of money-laundering and abuse of power charges over the scandal. It is alleged that hundreds of millions of dollars ended up in his personal bank accounts. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges denies any wrongdoing


Madam Rosmah’s love of costly overseas shopping trips, designer handbags and jewellery made her a lightning rod for public anger, and fuelled suspicions that she benefited from the plundering of 1MDB. 

After the election loss, a stash of cash, jewellery and hundreds of designer handbags worth as much as US$273 million was seized from properties linked to Najib in raids around Kuala Lumpur. 

Najib had said most of the items seized from his houses were gifts to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.

Najib and his wife have both been barred from leaving the country and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.  

Madam Rosmah is often compared to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than a thousand pairs of shoes after her husband, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted in 1986.  Najib’s fall from grace has been swift since he lost power to a reformist alliance led by Mahathir Mohamad, 93, who is in his second stint as premier.