KUALA LUMPUR: The lead prosecutor in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's corruption trial had everyone at the edge of their seats today when he applied to play an audio recording involving the former prime minister's wife.
His application was vehemently rejected by Rosmah's team of lawyers who said they were caught off guard by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram's application and demanded to know what the recording was about before it was played in court.
However, judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan overruled their objections and allowed the recording to be played after Sri Ram said he just wanted former Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid to confirm the voices of those in the audio recording.
His decision caused everyone to hold their breath in anticipation of hearing what had been recorded this time, following the release of several audio recordings involving Rosmah and her husband Datuk Seri Najib Razak by the Malaysia Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) last month.
Even Rosmah was seen turning back from the dock to look at her aides sitting directly behind her as if to ask what the latest recording could be about.
The mystery was solved when a loud, screeching sound came on air immediately after the start button was pressed.
There were palpable sighs of relief among Rosmah's supporters when it turned out that the recording was nothing more than the same "can I advise you something......can I advise you something" audio recording which had been released by the MACC previously.
The audio recording was only played briefly and Mahdzir later confirmed that those caught in the conversation were Rosmah and Najib.
Mahdzir, who served in Najib's administration, took the stand as the fifth prosecution witness in the trial where Rosmah is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to secure a solar hybrid energy contract worth RM1.25 billion for the company.
She is accused of receiving RM5 million and another RM1.5 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively to ensure the company gor the contract to supply solar hybrid energy for rural schools in Sarawak.
Mahdzir - who is Umno vice president, gave more damning evidence today on how Rosmah called him on Dec 22, 2016 directing him to speed up approval for the project.
He said Rosmah told him to follow instructions as stated in the minutes by Najib and instructed him not to delay the matter.
"She said she was only helping Cikgu Aazmey (Pekab Umno secretary Datuk Aazmey Abu Talib) to get the project.
"I could only say Ya, Ya Datin Seri...However, I had no doubts that she was involved in helping Saidi (Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin) to secure the contract," he said.
Mahdzir said Jepak Holdings was eventually awarded the contract on Jan 1, 2017 even though the company had no experience whatsoever in solar hybrid energy.
He said as of April 2018 Jepak had done nothing to build the solar hybrid panels as promised.
The 60-year old Padang Terap member of parliament, who was reading from his witness statement, denied that he ever asked for or received any bribes from Saidi for the project.
"I had no pressing needs to ask for money from Saidi. I was only following Najib's instructions to ensure the project was approved and given to Jepak Holdings," he said.
Later, during cross examination by Rosmah's lead counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh, Mahdzir denied that Saidi had given him RM50,000 to cover his family's holiday in London in December 2015.
He also denied that the threat of that charge hanging over his head was the reason he had become a witness against Rosmah in the trial.
Jagjit then showed him an article published in Berita Harian on Nov 30, 2018 which highlighted how that an ex-minister could be charged over the solar hybrid project.
However, Mahdzir said he was not even aware of the article.
Jagjit then accused Mahdzir of being the most corrupt Education Minister the country has had since 1957.
However, Mahdzir disagreed to the suggestion and also said that he was not charged so that he could implicate Rosmah to the offence.
The trial continues.