Malaysia’s former first lady Rosmah sentenced to 10 years in jail for graft

Malaysia’s former first lady Rosmah sentenced to 10 years in jail for graft

01 Sep 2022 (ABC News)

A Malaysian court has sentenced former first lady Rosmah Mansor to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of soliciting and receiving bribes during her husband’s corruption-tainted administration. 

The verdict came a week after Najib Razak was imprisoned over the massive looting of the 1MDB state fund.

Rosmah was found guilty on three charges of soliciting bribes and receiving 6.5 million ringgit (more than $2 million) between 2016 and 2017 to help a company secure a project to provide solar energy panels to schools on Borneo island.

She is expected to remain out on bail for her appeal to higher courts.

High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan said prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt that Rosmah corruptly solicited bribes and received money as a reward for herself.

He said her defence was a bare denial.

The former prime minister began his 12-year prison term last week after losing his final appeal in one of the five graft cases against him involving the multi-billion-dollar pilfering of 1MDB.

Rosmah’s trial had shed light on her alleged sway in the government since her husband took office in 2009.

Prosecutors said Rosmah wielded considerable influence due to her “overbearing nature”, even though she held no official position.

Witnesses testified that a special department, called First Lady of Malaysia, was set up to handle Rosmah’s affairs.

The couple were charged with multiple counts of graft after the shocking ouster of Najib’s United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in 2018 elections, fuelled by public anger over the 1MDB scandal.

UMNO has since returned to power after defections caused the collapse of the reformist government that won 2018 polls.

After Najib lost power, police raiding family residences seized hundreds of boxes of luxurious Hermes Birkin handbags, 423 watches, 14 tiaras and other jewellery plus cash estimated at more than 1.1 billion ringgit.

Separately, Rosmah has also been charged with laundering illegal proceeds and tax evasion linked to 1MDB in another trial that has not started.