Crime & Courts

Court of Appeal: Rosmah's trial must go on as scheduled

PUTRAJAYA: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor will take the stand to defend herself in court on three corruption charges relating to the solar hybrid energy project for rural schools in Sarawak tomorrow.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench today ordered for her trial to continue as scheduled after dismissing her bid to stay the ongoing trial.

Rosmah had applied for the stay order pending her appeal to disqualify Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in her case and to annul the trial proceedings.

In a unanimous decision, judge Datuk Seri Kamaludin Md Said who led the bench said the issue of nullity was not a special circumstance for granting a stay.

The judge in his decision cited a Federal Court decision involving a similar application by Najib over Sri Ram's appointment.

He said the court had in Najib's case ruled that the fact the proceeding may be rendered a nullity is not a special circumstance.

He said the court was bound by the decisions made by the higher courts and there was no departure from those rulings.

"The threshold has been there and has been followed by the higher court until now. So, we are bound by the Federal Court's decision by the principal.

"We are of the view that the proceedings at the High Court should be continued but at the same time the appeal can proceed.

"This would not prejudice the applicant. So, the application for stay is refused," he said.

The other judges who presided in the proceedings conducted via Zoom were Datuk Nordin Hassan and Datuk Hashim Hamzah.

Earlier, the court had heard submissions by Rosmah's lawyers Datuk Jagjit Singh and Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader and Sri Ram for the prosecution.

On Sept 24, the Kuala Lumpur High Court denied Rosmah's bid to disqualify Sri Ram as the lead prosecutor in her bribery case and to annul the ongoing trial proceedings.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan in his brief judgement said Sri Ram's appointment by then Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas was validly done under Section 376(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

He had on the same day dismissed an application by Rosmah's lawyers for a stay of the trial pending an appeal over the decision.

The trial at the defence stage was schedule to begin tomorrow.

This means that Rosmah would be the first to take the stand in the defence case.

Rosmah had filed the applications claiming that Sri Ram's appointment letter to be a senior deputy public prosecutor in her case was not valid.

She also argued that her trial should be nullified due to this and that she be acquitted based on a mistrial.

On Feb 18, the court ordered Rosmah to enter her defence over corruption charges involving a project to provide solar hybrid energy for rural schools in Sarawak.

Zaini had then ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on all three charges.

Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes of RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd's former managing director Saidi Abang Samsuddin, through her former special officer Datuk Rizal Mansor.

She was accused of committing the offences between Jan 2016 and Sept 2017.

She purportedly received the money in exchange for helping the company obtain a RM1.25 billion project to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

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