KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's corruption trial today saw an outburst of anger leading to an animated shouting match between her lawyer and the lead prosecutor in the case, with both sides barely able to control the hostilities throughout much of the day.
The drama started immediately after Rosmah's lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader finished cross examining former Education Ministry secretary general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad.
Madinah, who is a key witness in the trial had been on the witness stand since last Thursday, often had to be reminded to speak up when answering questions for the court recorders to catch her voice.
After Akberdin finished his cross examination, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram took over to re-examine the 63-year old and again reminded her to speak up.
To drive home the point, he said in jest that she needed to talk loudly as he was deaf.
Little did he expect the remark to come back and haunt him later.
This happened when in the course of questioning Madinah, another of Rosmah's lawyer, Datuk Jagjit Singh stood up to clarify a point.
Sri Ram didn't take kindly to being interrupted and snapped at Jagjit.
"You must have been sleeping...she already clarified that point," he said, causing Jagjit to explode in anger.
The senior lawyer immediately went into a tirade against the Deputy Public Prosecutor, waving his hands wildly as he spoke loudly.
Sri Ram responded to his screaming by saying that there was no need for Jagjit to shout.
This only infuriated Jagjit even more, who answered back by saying: "I am shouting because you yourself said that you are deaf."
His response elicited chuckles in the gallery before Judge Mohamad Zaini Mazlan stepped in to cool things down.
"Let's end this on a peaceful note," he said, before both sides ended the hostilities and got on with the trial.
Meanwhile, Madinah later confirmed a conversation she had with Rosmah after a Permata Negara event where the former prime minister's wife had instructed her to look into and expedite the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project proposed by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd.
The project involved supplying solar hybrid energy for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
The 63-year old who served in the Education Ministry from 2013 to 2016, confirmed that Rosmah told her "you tengok sikit projek solar Jepak. Cepatkan sikit" (you look into the Jepak solar project. expedite it).
Sri Ram asked her to confirm if Rosmah had indeed mentioned Jepak in the conversation and Madinah replied in the affirmative.
Madinah also denied that she had any vested interest in the project and dismissed suggestions that she had received money from parties connected to Jepak Holdings.
Asked why she did not advise then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the non viability of the project, Madinah said that was not how the civil service worked.
"There is an established hierachy or chain of command. The KSU (secretary general) reports to the Minister.
"Issues of viability concerning this project was relayed to the minister, who then informs the prime minister. I informed the minister several times and it was not for me to overstep the boundary and go straight to the prime minister," she said
Rosmah, 69, is accused of soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings to secure the solar energy hybrid contract for the company.
She is accused of receiving RM5 million and another RM1.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
The hearing continues tomorrow with the seventh prosecution witness, Finance Ministry deputy secretary general Datuk Othman Semail expected to be cross examined by the defence.