MACC phone call audio recording played in Rosmah's trial

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): The prosecution requested for a phone call recording between former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to be played in court so that a witness could verify if it was their voices in the clip.

A few seconds of the recording was played to the fifth witness in the case, former education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Mahdzir identified the first person in the recording as Najib and the person on the other line as Rosmah.

In the recording, Najib was heard saying "Yes anything?" to which Rosmah retorted "Can I advise you something?"

Mahdzir has completed reading his witness statement and the defence is now beginning their cross-examination.

This is the third day of the Rosmah graft trial, where she has been charged with soliciting RM187.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd to secure for the company a solar hybrid energy contract for rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.25 billion, and receiving RM6.5 million cash in bribes.

Initially, the defence objected to the recording being played in open court as the prosecution had only passed it to them today.

Counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh said the prosecution should have given it earlier, before the start of the trial, and not only today.

He further argued that the recording should have been tendered through the investigating officer and not through the former minister.

Meanwhile, fellow defence lawyer Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader said the maker of the CD-ROM should be called in to testify and that Rosmah’s legal team is worried about a trial by media if the recording is played.

Senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram told the court that the recording was played for identification only of several people and the prosecution will undertake to play the recording when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigating officer is called.

He further assured parties that the maker of the recording will be called.

Despite vehement objections from the defence, Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who is presiding the case, allowed the audio to be played in open court and said the court is not concerned with what is happening with the media and that it will decide on its own.

Justice Zaini said that the onus would be on the prosecution to bring the maker of the recording to testify to ensure that the court would accept the recording.

If the witness is not called, then the recording would not be accepted, he added.

He ruled that the recording be marked as ID (identification only).

The recording was played for a few seconds and replayed one more time when he said that he could not hear it properly. The witness then identified the voices in the recording.

The recording caused a sensation when MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya played nine audio clips last month, including this one.

According to the commissioner, the clips were released in the name of public interest and would not be subjudicial to Najib’s ongoing court cases.

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