Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was often approached by entrepreneurs and contractors seeking her help to secure government contracts, Datuk Rizal Mansor told the High Court today.
Testifying against Rosmah in her corruption trial, Rizal stated that he had personal knowledge of contractors and entrepreneurs giving the wife of former prime minister Datuk Najib Razak gifts for helping them to secure government contracts.
Rizal had earlier told the court that among the confidential tasks he was entrusted with by Rosmah as her special officer was the collection of funds or contributions that individuals wished to give to her.
“As the wife of the prime minister, there are many parties that wished to see her. Most of them were entrepreneurs and contractors that wanted to lobby for government contracts.
They would meet her to build a good relationship, and subsequently, hoped that she would help convince Datuk Seri Najib to provide them with the opportunity to secure Malaysian government contracts.
“To my knowledge, there are several entrepreneurs or contractors that successfully secured government projects after they were helped by Datin Seri Rosmah.
“Usually, these entrepreneurs or contractors would give gifts to her as a sign of appreciation for having helped them. These gifts included cash,” he said.
Rizal stated that he often received gifts from contractors or entrepreneurs on behalf of Rosmah on the perceived basis that the gift or contribution was a “political donation”.
“After gaining Datin Seri Rosmah’s trust, I was tasked with receiving the gifts on her behalf including cash that was meant for her from entrepreneurs or contractors. As all the gifts were given on the grounds of ‘political contributions’, I never thought it would be an offence for me to accept them on her behalf,” he said.
Civil servants’ fear of Rosmah
Rizal also testified that as the prime minister’s wife, Rosmah had a “huge” influence over members of the civil service.
He stated that public servants were often reluctant to turn down requests from Rosmah or the First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) division, a special section under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Government officers would often try to win Rosmah’s approval by acceding to her requests, Rizal added.
“From my experience working with the civil service, I found Datin Seri Rosmah had a significant influence over them due to several factors. The main factor was the fear that the civil service had of Datin Seri Rosmah, who was seen as the wife of the prime minister, and someone who is fierce and can influence the actions and decisions of the prime minister.
“From the viewpoint of civil servants, Datin Seri Rosmah is capable of influencing the prime minister to transfer government officers who had refused or fought against her requests to a less important position of or, what they say in the civil service, a ‘cold storage’ position,” he said.
In court, former aide says Rosmah took RM6.5m in bribes at Seri Perdana, private home
Datin Seri Rosmah allegedly received RM6.5 million in two tranches from Jepak Holding Sdn Bhd managing director Said Abang Samsudin to help him win a solar hybrid project from the government, Datuk Rizal Mansor told the High Court today.
He said this included a RM5 million cash payment that he sent personally to Rosmah at Seri Perdana, the prime minister’s official residence in Putrajaya, around December 2016.
Rosmah is the wife of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was the prime minister at the time.
Rizal testified that he was accompanied then by his driver and a friend, Datuk Ahmed Farriq Zainul Abidin.
“As soon as we arrived at the Seri Perdana Complex, I instructed Datin Seri Rosmah’s two butlers to carry both luggage bags that contained RM5 million in cash from my car to the inside of Datin Seri Rosmah’s house. Afterwards, I entered the house, while Datuk Farriq and my driver only waited in the car.
“I then met with Datin Seri Rosmah who was with the two luggage (bags). She then asked me ‘how much?’ and I said ‘five’ meaning RM5 million. Datin Sri Rosmah did not open the two luggage and instructed her butler to send the bags to her room. I then left,’’ he said.
Rizal also testified that on the same day, Saidi and the latter’s business partner, Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, had visited his home to give him RM500,000 for his role in the arrangement.
He added that Saidi also informed him in a later meeting in 2017 that the latter gave another RM1.5 million to Rosmah when he visited her at her private residence in Jalan Langgak Duta.
Previously, Saidi told the same trial that he and Rayyan brought and left two bags containing the RM1.5 million at Rosmah’s Langgak Duta mansion on September 7, 2017.
In this trial, Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million in bribes from Saidi, of accepting a RM1.5 million bribe directly from him and a separate RM5 million bribe via Rizal, in exchange for helping Jepak Holdings win a RM1.25 billion solar energy project from the Education Ministry.
Rizal was previously charged with allegedly helping Rosmah ask for a RM187.5 million bribe from Saidi and for allegedly seeking a smaller sum of RM25 million for himself, and also with allegedly receiving a RM5 million bribe from Saidi on behalf of Rosmah and for allegedly receiving a RM500,000 bribe from Saidi for himself.
Rizal had been scheduled to be jointly tried with Rosmah, but the prosecution withdrew the charges against him in January, before the start of the trial.