Malaysian ex-PM’s wife faces graft charges over rural solar project
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Malaysian ex-PM’s wife faces graft charges over rural solar project

THE wife of deposed former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to be dragged to court on Thursday over graft allegations relating to an RM1.25 billion (US$312 million) energy project for rural schools.

Rosmah Mansor, along with her former aide Rizal Mansor, would face six charges related to a solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak, the largest Malaysian state situated northwest of Borneo.

Sources close with the matter told The Star that the six graft charges involved a total amount of RM6.5 million (US$1.62 million) allegedly syphoned from the project.

The fresh charges come a month after Rosmah claimed trial to another 17 counts of money laundering involving RM7 million (US$1.75 million).

SEE ALSO: Malaysian ex-PM’s wife arrested, faces money laundering charges

However, Rosmah’s lawyer, Geetham Ram Vincent, said they had yet to be informed on the exact nature of the charges.

Earlier, the New Straits Times quoted sources from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as saying that the project involved the installation of solar panels at 369 schools in Sarawak which was awarded to a company named Jepak Holdings, under the direct order of Najib when he was prime minister.

The source said the approval of the project happened without undergoing the standard operating procedure set by the Education Ministry.

2017-11-12T113151Z_320402751_RC136034D090_RTRMADP_3_ASEAN-SUMMIT

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak salutes the honour guards, next to his spouse Rosmah Mansor, upon their arrival to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, Nov 12, 2017. Source: Reuters

“Based on the investigation, Rosmah is expected to be hit with several charges for her alleged role in the project,” the source told the NST.

“This is a follow-up to our probe involving Najib’s former aide…who was detained by the MACC on July 9.”

The charges also came after the MACC questioned the then-Education Minister, Mahdzir Khalid, the company’s directors and lawyers, to facilitate investigations.

Najib was arrested at his home in July, less than two months after an unexpected election defeat to a coalition led by his mentor-turned-foe Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

SEE ALSO: 1MDB: Why Malaysia fell victim to the biggest heist in history 

Following the defeat, investigators reopened the dormant “Rosmah file” some five months ago, around the time she was called in by the MACC for questioning on a probe related to the multibillion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Known for her lavish lifestyle and taste for extravagant handbags and jewellery, Rosmah is country’s first former prime minister’s wife to be questioned by the MACC.

The former Prime Minister has been charged with at least 38 counts of money laundering and abuse of power connected to the sovereign wealth fund.

Since his ouster, police and anti-graft investigators have revived probes into missing billions related to 1MDB.