A Malaysian High Court has found Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, guilty of seeking and receiving bribes in exchange for government contracts.
Rosah Mansor has been sentenced to ten years in prison on each of three bribery charges. She was found guilty on three charges of soliciting and receiving bribes to help a company win a 1.25bn ringgit project ($279m, £240m). The High Court said the jail terms would run concurrently.
Rosmah, pleaded not guilty in the dock as High Court judge, Zaini Mazlan, delivered the verdict on Thursday, September 1, 2022.
“I must admit that I’m very sad with what happened today… Nobody saw me taking the money, nobody saw me counting the money…. but if that’s the conclusion, I leave it to God.”Rosmah Mansor
She has also been fined a total of 970m ringgit. Currently, it is unclear when she will start serving a prison sentence, as she has been granted a stay of execution pending her appeal. That notwithstanding, Rosmah still faces 17 other charges of money laundering and tax evasion and has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Prosecutors claimed Rosmah had sought a bribe of 187.5m ringgit and received 6.5m ringgit from an official of a company that won the bid for a solar energy project.
She had earlier argued that she was framed by her former aide as well as other officials involved in the project, but the judge called her defence “bare denial and unsubstantiated”.
Her legal team had also filed a last-ditch application to get the presiding judge recused. They argued that an alleged leaked document which stated that her guilty verdict had been decided ahead of time had left her with no faith in the judge’s ability to hear the case fairly.
Nonetheless, Judge Mazlan dismissed the recusal application, saying the prosecution had proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The sentencing has been praised by a Malaysian civil society group.
Mandeep Singh, former secretariat manager of Bersih, stated that “justice has been served for the people of Malaysia”. She noted that for the people of Malaysia, they can’t stop here.
“[Rosmah] can still appeal, but we hope that eventually she will join her husband in prison.”Mandeep Singh
The 70-year-old is known for her love of luxury goods and jewellery. When Malaysian police raided the couple’s properties in 2018, they found a $1.6m gold and diamond necklace, 14 tiaras and 272 Hermes bags.
Conviction of form Malaysia PM
The sentencing of Rosmah comes days after her husband began serving a 12-year jail sentence for corruption. The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, was sentenced after the top court rejected his appeal.
The 69-year-old’s charges relate to a corruption scandal involving state-owned wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He was convicted in July 2020, but had been out on bail during the appeal.
The court also denied Najib’s request to delay his sentence, despite the fact that he has continued to deny any wrongdoing. In his final move for freedom, Najib’s lawyer requested the removal of Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat from the panel presiding over the case – in what was seen as a bid to forestall a final verdict.
They claimed she could be biased as her husband had made a Facebook post in 2018 which was critical of Najib. However, the chief justice declined the request as she said the post was before the charges were brought against Najib.