KUALA LUMPUR - A key prosecution witness in the corruption trial of Rosmah Mansor revealed on Monday (Aug 3) how former Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid, and another person who was the Umno secretary for former prime minister Najib Razak's constituency, had demanded up to RM60 million (S$20 million) each as kickbacks from a solar project for schools in Sarawak.
The witness, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah,was speaking at the trial of Rosmah, 69, involving a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for Sarawak schools, New Straits Times (NST) online news reported.
Rosmah, Najib's wife, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a RM6.5 million bribe from the managing director of Jepak Holdings through a former aide, in exchange for helping the company win the solar energy project.
Mr Rayyan, a 41-year-old business consultant to Jepak, told the court that he felt disgusted about having to pay kickbacks amounting to millions of ringgit to politicians and others so that Jepak could secure the project.
Mr Rayyan was the 16th prosecution witness in the case.
Under questioning from the defence, he said Pekan's Umno secretary, Datuk Aazmey Abu Talib, had played a big role in helping Jepak secure the project, NST reported. Najib is the MP for Pekan ward in Pahang.
Mr Rayyan said Jepak entered into a deal with Mr Aazmey to pay him about four or five per cent of the project value, amounting to about RM50 million to RM60 million.
The witness also said Jepak's managing director, Mr Saidi Abang Samsudin, eventually paid Mr Aazmey a total of RM2 million in a number of payments.
"Saidi also consistently paid Aazmey between RM20,000 to RM30,000 per month from 2016. This was as gratitude for services rendered to help Jepak Holdings get the project," Mr Rayyan said.
Under questioning, the witness told the court that ex-education minister Mr Mahdzir had asked for some 20 per cent or RM250 million of the project's value as kickback, but later settled for RM60 million, NST said.
The sum, which was to be paid in instalments of RM1 million per month for five years was to be paid through a proxy of Mr Mahdzir who had gone missing, the court heard.
Previous reports said Mr Mahdzir, one of the three vice-presidents of Umno, had denied asking for the gratification when he was called to the stand in February, NST said.
Mr Rayyan said he eventually decided to blow the lid on what was going on, including his unhappiness of bribes being paid to politicians and others.
"That is when I ended up getting a death threat from Saidi. I still have the message in my phone," he told the court.
"He (Saidi) eventually apologised to me and even offered me RM20 to RM30 million to keep my mouth shut. However, I want the truth to be revealed," Mr Rayyan said.