KUALA LUMPUR: All eyes will turn towards the High Court here on Thursday (Sept 1) as Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan delivers his decision at the end of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s defence trial in the RM1.25bil solar hybrid case.
Whether he convicts or frees Rosmah, the public will want to know the words and reasoning in his judgment as the spotlight was shone on him recently, due to a purported “leaked judgment”.
ALSO READ: Police: Leaked judgment a reference, not final copy
Just days ago on Aug 26, a blog published a scanned copy of what was claimed to be the “judgment” by Justice Zaini, which the blog claimed would be a conviction for the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
However, upon close inspection, the “leaked” judgment turned out to be a research paper prepared for the judge to assist him to make his findings in the case.
There has been an eleventh-hour application filed by Rosmah to recuse Justice Zaini in light of the alleged leak, which she said had caused her to lose confidence in the upcoming decision.
Justice Zaini will have to deal with the application first before delivering his decision.
ALSO READ: Rosmah files application to disqualify High Court judge in corruption trial
Another key figure in the case is Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a former Federal Court judge, who is leading the prosecution against Rosmah.
The two have locked horns in the courtroom before, with Sri Ram firing questions at her and Rosmah – who did not take anything lying down – questioning him back.
Justice Zaini, who is known for his cool temperament in the courtroom, has had to step in a few times and tell the accused, “Datin Seri, please answer the question.”
ALSO READ: Bid to disqualify Sri Ram fails again
Rosmah had also attacked Sri Ram’s authority by attempting to disqualify his appointment as an ad hoc prosecutor on more than one occasion.
The latest attempt to disqualify Sri Ram – by way of filing for leave to initiate a judicial review – failed on Tuesday (Aug 30) when another High Court judge, Justice Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, allowed a preliminary objection raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) in Rosmah’s application.
The prosecution’s submission mentioned her “combative” nature, which stated that from her demeanour, there was no doubt she had instructed her former aide Datuk Rizal Mansor to make the demand for the bribe and that she did in fact receive the two sums – RM1.5mil and RM5mil – in question.
“Perhaps the best way to describe her is as a person whose path is not to be crossed.
“And woe to the person who dares cross it,” the prosecution said.
Perhaps one can say that he who dared to cross Rosmah was her former aide, Rizal, who was initially charged together with her.
Four charges against Rizal, however, were dropped on Jan 8, 2020, and he became the prosecution’s star witness, testifying against Rosmah.
In her defence, Rosmah said what had happened to her was an evil and cruel deed.
“It is malicious and selective prosecution against me and my family,” she said while wiping away her tears when testifying.
She blamed Rizal, whom she claimed had masterminded the soliciting and receiving of millions of ringgit involving the solar hybrid project, while using her good name.
Two people testified in Rosmah’s defence, including herself. Her other witness was Datuk Seri Siti Azizah Sheikh Abod who was the former director of the First Lady Of Malaysia (FLOM) division.
Najib was initially listed as a defence witness but he was later dropped. One of Rosmah’s lawyers, Datuk Jagjit Singh, told the court that Najib’s evidence was only corroborative in nature and this had already been established by the defence.
Rosmah, 70, is facing one charge of soliciting RM187.5mil and two charges of accepting bribes amounting to RM6.5mil from the former managing director of Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, Saidi Abang Samsudin.
The bribe was allegedly received through Rizal as a reward to help Jepak Holdings obtain the Integrated Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Hybrid System Project as well as genset/diesel maintenance and operations for 369 schools worth RM1.25bil through direct negotiation from the Education Ministry.