KUALA LUMPUR: An internal feud among business partners in the company which was handed a RM1.25 billion contract almost led one of them to expose then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's roles in awarding the project to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.
A key witness in Rosmah's corruption trial today revealed that the fallout involved the company managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin and his business partner Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah.
Former Education Ministry secretary general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad said Rayyan bombarded her with a series of WhatsApp messages between October 2017 and May 2018 expressing his unhappiness with Saidi.
She said Rayyan accused Saidi of changing the contract terms, making false claims and also cheating several other parties of their money by leveraging on the solar hybrid project which the company had won from the government.
Madinah said Rayyan wanted her help to arrange for a meeting with Najib so that he could take over the project from Saidi and Jepak Holdings.
"He threatened to expose the PM and Ma'am...he said he will reveal their involvement in awarding the project to Jepak Holdings.
"He threatened to reveal all this to the Opposition if I did not help him," she said.
Madinah, who is the sixth prosecution witness in the trial, said PM in the message referred to Najib while Rosmah was known as Ma'am in her circles.
The 63-year old who retired from her post in September 2016, said Rayyan also sent her screenshots of incriminating WhatsApp conversations involving Rosmah's former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor.
Rizal was originally a co-accused in the case but charges against him have since been dropped and he is now another key prosecution witness in the trial.
The screenshots were later displayed on a big screen in court, including one where Rizal had engaged in a conversation on how barang (goods) should be delivered to a house.
A translated portion of the conversation was as follows:
"Saidi is afraid to take the goods himself...And I took the goods to send it to the house.
"The risks I faced included being robbed. If anything had happened...especially with all that goods in my possession...who would have answered for all this?
"Is this the payback I get?"
In another thread dated August 10 and 11 2017, Rizal posted a message that he would be waiting at the boss' house in Taman Duta at 11.30am.
Madinah said she eventually forwarded all the WhatsApp messages to the investigating officer in the case.
Rosmah, 69, is on trial for soliciting and receiving bribes to secure the solar hybrid project worth RM1.25 billion for Jepak Holdings.
She is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from Saidi between January and April 2016, and receiving RM5 million and RM1.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
The project involves supplying solar hybrid energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Rosmah is represented by lead counsels Datuk Jagjit Singh and Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader while the prosecution team is led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib.
Previous witnesses have testified that Saidi had withdrawn RM5 million cash on Dec 19, 2016 and another RM1.5 million on Sept 6, 2017.
One of them, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) assistant superintendent Mohd Redzuan Othaman, had identified locations in the Jalan Langgak Duta home where the money was allegedly handed over to Rosmah.
Meanwhile, another witness, Finance Ministry deputy secretary general (treasury management) Datuk Othman Semail testified that the solar hybrid contract was given to Jepak Holdings without any detailed studies on the need for such a project.
He said the project was given through direct negotiations and did not follow procedures when it was handed to Jepak Holdings on Nov 10, 2016.
The value of the project at RM1.25 billion was also determined by Jepak Holdings without any studies on how the figure was derived, he said.
Othman, 58, said it was also unclear why the contract had been given considering the Educations Ministry's limited financial resources and lack of clarity on the necessity for such a project.
The trial before High Court Judge Mohamad Zaini Mazlan continues.