Rosmah Mansor: Wife of ex-Malaysian PM Najib gets 10 years jail for bribery

KUALA LUMPUR    -    The wife of ex-Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been sentenced to ten years in pris­on on each of three bribery charges. Rosmah Mansor was found guilty on three charg­es of soliciting and receiv­ing bribes to help a company win a 1.25bn ringgit ($279m, £240m) project. 

The High Court said the jail terms would run concur­rently. It comes days after her husband began serving a 12-year jail sentence for cor­ruption. 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. 

Rosmah, who had pleaded not guilty, sat quietly in the dock as High Court judge Zaini Mazlan delivered the verdict on Thursday afternoon. “I must admit that I’m very sad with what happened today,” she said tearfully to the judge after the verdict was delivered, according to a Reuters news agency report. 

“Nobody saw me taking the money, nobody saw me count­ing the money.... but if that’s the conclusion, I leave it to God.”She has also been fined a total of 970m ringgit. However, it is unclear when she will start serving a prison sentence, as she has been granted a stay of execution pending her appeal. 

Rosmah still faces 17 other charges of money-laundering and tax evasion. She has plead­ed not guilty to these charges. Prosecutors said Rosmah had sought a bribe of 187.5m ring­git and had 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 on Wednesday 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. But Judge Mazlan dismissed the recusal applica­tion, saying the prosecution had proven their case beyond a rea­sonable doubt. Lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the Malaysian people were entitled to “receive their share of justice”.

“Justice is not only to the ac­cused, it is also to the state,” he said, according to a video posted on social media. The sentencing was praised by a Malaysian civil society group.

“Justice has been served for the people of Malaysia,” Man­deep Singh, former secretariat manager of Bersih 2.0 told the BBC. “For the people of Malay­sia, we can’t stop here. [Ros­mah] can still appeal, but we hope that eventually she will join her husband in prison.”

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