KUALA LUMPUR: “I took what she (Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor) said seriously because she was the wife of the (former) Prime Minister,” former education ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad told the High Court.
Alias, 62, said Rosmah was asking him to speed up an advanced payment to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, the company awarded with the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Testifying in Rosmah’s graft trial in relation to the project, Alias said Rosmah had after a Permata foundation meeting, approached him directly to enquire about the advance payment.
“After the meeting, Rosmah asked me about the status of the advance payment to Jepak and when will it be done as the company was unable to implement the project without the payment," he said.
Alias said he took Rosmah’s queries seriously as it came from the wife of then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“She also asked me when the contract could be signed and to speed up the matter because if the contract was not signed, the progress payment could not be made,” he said.
The 12th prosecution witness said after Rosmah’s queries, he had instructed his officers to figure out a solution to the issues surrounding Jepak Holdings’ advance payment, progress payment and preparation of the contract.
Alias said he did not remember the exact date of his conversation with Rosmah, but it took place before the official contract for the project was signed.
He testified that he had signed the contract together with Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin.
“As far as I remember, the contract for the project was signed on June 20, 2017,” he said.
Trial before judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues.
Rosmah, 69, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a total RM6.5 million bribe from Saidi, through her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor, in exchange for helping Jepak Holdings obtain a RM1.25 billion project to provide solar energy to 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
On Feb 5, in his opening statement, lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said Rosmah wielded considerable influence by reason of her ‘overbearing nature’.
He said despite occupying no official position in the government, Rosmah had solicited bribes and received gratification as alleged in the charges against her.