KUALA LUMPUR: A former senior official with the education ministry told the High Court in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial that she had no vested interest in the RM1.25 billion solar project for Sarawak schools.
Madinah Mohamad, who was the ministry’s secretary-general from 2013 to 2016, said this when questioned by defence lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, on why she had signed a letter to award the solar project to Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd on her last day at the ministry (Sept 2, 2016).
Akberdin pointed out that in Madinah’s witness statement, she had criticised the solar project as a non-viable project and said it was too expensive.
The lawyer added: “I suggest that Tan Sri (Madinah) had failed in your duty to explain to the (then) prime minister (Najib Razak) about Jepak’s solar project back then.”
“I disagreed. I informed him (Najib) in Parliament that the education ministry could not implement this solar project because we did not have sufficient funds and there were some issues that were not properly explained to us,” Madinah said.
The witness also said that although the education ministry had the power to reject applications for projects if certain requirements were not met, she was unable to do so for the solar project.
“I received the education minister’s (Mahdzir Khalid) note to execute Datuk Seri Najib’s written instructions and this decision was final,” Madinah explained.
She also said that Najib had, on Nov 23, 2015, and June 2, 2016, given written instructions to the ministry to let Jepak Holdings implement the solar project.
To a question on whether she knew that some schools had solar panels installed previously before the government switched to genset for power supply, Madinah replied in the affirmative but said she was unsure of the number of schools involved.
“When I was the secretary-general, there was no plan to revert to solar panel for power supply,” she added.
The hearing continues on Feb 19 before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan.
Rosmah is facing three counts of corruption charges, for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd’s Saidi Abang Samsudin as an inducement to help the company secure the Hybrid Photovoltaic Solar System Integrated Project and Maintenance and Operation of Genset/Diesel for 369 rural schools in Sarawak, worth a total of RM1.25 billion through direct negotiations with the education ministry.
She was also accused of receiving bribes amounting to RM6.5 million from Saidi between 2016 and 2017.