KUALA LUMPUR • A key prosecution witness in the corruption trial of Rosmah Mansor revealed yesterday how Malaysia’s former education minister Mahdzir Khalid, and another person who was the Umno secretary for Najib Razak’s constituency, had demanded up to RM60 million (S$19.5 million) each as kickbacks from a solar project for schools in Sarawak.
The witness, Mr Rayyan Radzwill Abdullah, was speaking at the trial of Rosmah, 69, involving a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for Sarawak schools, New Straits Times (NST) online news reported.
Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib, is facing a charge of soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving a total of RM6.5 million in exchange for helping Jepak Holdings win the solar energy project.
Mr Rayyan, a 41-year-old business consultant to Jepak, told the court that he felt disgusted about having to pay kickbacks amounting to millions of ringgit to politicians and others so that Jepak could secure the project.
Mr Rayyan was the 16th prosecution witness in the case.
Under questioning from the defence, he said that Pekan’s Umno secretary, Datuk Aazmey Abu Talib, had played a big role in helping Jepak secure the project, NST reported. Najib is the MP for Pekan ward in Pahang.
Mr Rayyan said Jepak entered into a deal with Mr Aazmey to pay him about 4 per cent or 5 per cent of the project’s value, amounting to about RM50 million to RM60 million.
The witness also said that Jepak’s managing director, Mr Saidi Abang Samsudin, eventually paid Mr Aazmey a total of RM2 million in a number of payments.
“Saidi also consistently paid Aazmey between RM20,000 and RM30,000 per month from 2016. This was as gratitude for services rendered to help Jepak Holdings get the project,” Mr Rayyan said.
Under further questioning, the witness told the court that Mr Mahdzir, the former education minister, had asked for some 20 per cent or RM250 million of the project’s value as kickback, but settled for RM60 million, NST said.
The sum was to be paid in instalments of RM1 million per month over five years, the court heard.
Previous reports had said Mr Mahdzir, one of the three vice-presidents of Umno, had denied asking for the gratification when he was called to the stand in February, NST reported.