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Judge in Rosmah’s graft trial offers to recuse himself

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 18): The judge presiding over Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s (pictured) second corruption trial has offered to recuse himself to expedite the case.  

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the offer to lawyers today, as he is also the presiding judge in Rosmah’s first corruption trial relating to the RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project for rural schools in Sarawak. 

During case management at the High Court, Zaini told the lawyers present that the second trial can only begin once the first trial ends. 

“It will depend whether the defence is called. If it is not called, we are looking at March (to start the second trial). If it is called, then somewhere after June,” Zaini said. 

He went on to suggest that the parties request for a different judge to preside over the second trial. 

“Have you not given any thoughts about getting another judge? Think about that. Otherwise, we can maintain it here,” he told the lawyers present.  

Deputy Public Prosecutor Poh Yin Tinn told the judge that he would have to confer with his senior counsel, who was not present, on the matter.  

Zaini then set Feb 25, 2021 as the next case management date for the second case.  

In that case, Rosmah is being charged with 17 counts of money laundering and tax evasion involving a sum of RM7.09 million. 

In the first trial, Rosmah, 68, is fighting three corruption charges, namely soliciting a RM187.5 million bribe from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd and receiving payments of RM5 million and RM1.5 million from the company to ensure it obtained the solar hybrid project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak for the first trial.

Last week, the prosecution closed its case in the first trial after more than 23 witnesses testified during 33 days of hearing at the High Court. 

Zaini has set Dec 28 for written submissions to be filed by the defence, while replies by the prosecution are required to be submitted by Jan 4. The next hearing date is Feb 10.

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