Rosmah faces new graft charge over solar power project

Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, leaving the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday. She is accused of receiving a RM5 million (S$1.7 million) bribe relating to a solar power project. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, leaving the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday. She is accused of receiving a RM5 million (S$1.7 million) bribe relating to a solar power project. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR • Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, yesterday pleaded not guilty to a third graft charge relating to a solar hybrid project to supply power to rural schools in Sarawak.

She is accused of receiving a RM5 million (S$1.7 million) bribe from Jepak Holdings' managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin through her aide Rizal Mansor, at her home in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 20, 2016.

The money is alleged to be an inducement for helping Jepak Holdings obtain a solar hybrid project worth RM1.25 billion to supply power for 369 rural schools in Sarawak through direct negotiations with the Education Ministry.

If convicted, Rosmah, 68, faces up to 20 years' imprisonment and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification.

Later, at the court complex, she was asked about Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah's statement in Parliament on Monday that a US$27 million (S$37 million) pink diamond pendant, previously said to be hers, had been brought into Malaysia but later left the country without a sale being made.

Rosmah said it was more important that those who accused her of purchasing the 22-carat diamond apologise to Malaysians than to her.

She said the diamond issue was a trumped-up charge by certain parties to "use it for the election", referring to last year's polls in which Najib's Barisan Nasional coalition lost.

"If people come to apologise to me, I will forgive them. But what is more important is to apologise to the people," she said, adding that she has to be patient and accept the slander spread about her.

Najib had said the pink diamond was a gift from Sheikh Mansour, a prince from the United Arab Emirates.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Rosmah faces new graft charge over solar power project'. Print Edition | Subscribe