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Najib to attend Rosmah's trial tomorrow for 'emotional support' as the court decides on whether to call for her defence

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 17): Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be attending his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor's trial tomorrow as a show of "emotional support" when the High Court delivers its decision on whether she should be called to enter her defence over the three counts of graft she has been charged with.

This is as the judge presiding over his trial in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-Tanore case has allowed the hearing tomorrow to start a bit later, pending the High Court's decision in Rosmah's case.

During 1MDB-Tanore's trial today, deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ahmad Akram Gharib told High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah that some members of the 1MDB-Tanore prosecution team are also part of the team prosecuting Rosmah, hence they are also required to be present in her case.

Lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah then said Najib intends to attend Rosmah's trial as a show of solidarity.

"My client (Najib) would like to be in support, emotional support, when the wife receives the judgement for defence to be called or not," he told reporters when met outside the court.

Shafee also said there will be "no issue" for Najib to attend Rosmah's trial tomorrow as no evidence will be given during the proceedings and that only the judge's decision will be delivered.

On listening to both requests, Justice Sequerah then ordered for the 1MDB-Tanore trial to start at 10am tomorrow, or whenever the court proceedings for Rosmah's trial concludes.

Both Najib and Rosmah had previously been asked to leave the courtroom when they attended each other's trials, as they were both potential witnesses in each other's cases.

On Feb 6, 2020, Najib was ordered to leave the court when he turned up to support his wife when the fourth prosecution witness, Shamsul Rizal Sharbini, 42, was answering questions by DPP Mohamed Mustafa P Kunyalam.

This came after Ahmad Akram objected to his presence, prompting Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan to direct Najib to leave his courtroom.

Earlier on June 18, 2019, Rosmah was also forced to leave the courtroom after she walked in to hear proceedings involving her husband's SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial.

The objection was made by ad hoc prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram — on the grounds that she was a potential witness in the case — when former SRC chairman Tan Sri Ismee Ismail was testifying in court.

Tomorrow, the High Court will deliver its decision on whether to call Rosmah to enter defence over the three counts of graft she has been charged with in relation to a RM1.25 billion solar hybrid project involving 369 schools in Sarawak.

Rosmah has been charged with two counts of receiving a total of RM6.5 million bribe from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd director Saidi Abang Samsudin, whose company was awarded the project.

She is alleged to have received RM5 million and another RM1.5 million sent to her homes in Seri Perdana, Putrajaya as well as Langgak Duta here, between December 2016 and September 2017. If convicted, she faces a maximum jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of five times the amount received.

In addition, the former Prime Minister's wife faces a charge of soliciting  RM187.5 million as kickbacks from Saidi for the RM1.25 billion project.

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