Rosmah may face new charges over $413m school solar project

PETALING JAYA • Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak, will likely be hauled to court again – this time over a RM1.25 billion (S$413 million) solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak.

She is expected to face several charges together with her former aide Rizal Mansor this week, said a source at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

However, it is unclear what role she played in the deal or what charges would be brought against her. Those familiar with ongoing investigations remain tight-lipped.

Rosmah is currently facing 17 charges of money laundering and tax evasion involving more than RM7 million.

The solar hybrid project courted controversy when whistle-blowing website Sarawak Report alleged in June that the contract was awarded to Bintulu-based company Jepak Holdings.

Jepak Holdings is a transportation services company supposedly reporting directly to Najib.

Asked if Najib and former education minister Mahdzir Khalid would also face charges, the source said: “Not yet.”

Datuk Seri Mahdzir was grilled for several hours by the anti-graft agency last month, also over the same project.

Najib was called in by the MACC last Thursday to assist in investigations as a witness for several cases. One case was related to the solar hybrid project.

Jepak Holdings was appointed at the end of 2016 to supply diesel and repair generators, and provide solar hybrid systems to generate electricity for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.

To date, the solar systems have not been installed at any of the schools.

Rizal was arrested by the MACC in July following allegations that he solicited money from Jepak Holdings over the project. However, it is believed that the money did not change hands.

In June, the graft busters also arrested a company director, managing director and a lawyer over the controversial project.

The MACC began investigating the billion-ringgit project in April, a month before the country’s general election in which Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition was defeated.

Meanwhile, sources indicated that the MACC will be busy towards the year end, with a number of charges to be brought against members of the previous administration.

Among those speculated to be in the anti-graft agency’s cross hairs is former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who has been questioned 12 times over dubious land deals involving Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

He had said that he had nothing to do with the approval of the underpriced land deals between DBKL and private developers as he had handed over land matters to the Prime Minister’s Department.

A special task force was set up to probe the 97 transactions, worth RM5.6 billion, involving 273ha of land in the capital.

It is understood that Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Baling MP and former chairman of pilgrims fund Tabung Haji, is also in line to be charged.

The case against him is believed to be over allegations of bribery and money laundering in relation to government project kickbacks.

Meanwhile a former deputy minister is also expected to be charged over the embezzlement of funds from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission that were meant for the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia.

The money was supposedly meant for projects under the 1Malaysia Negaraku national unity concept launched by Najib in August last year, but the projects were never implemented.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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