Lawyer: Keeping Rosmah's RM970m fine likely to be challenged by A-G

KUALA LUMPUR: THE attorney-general should challenge the stay order against the RM970 million fine imposed on Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in her corruption trial, a lawyer said.
Senior lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the case was likely the second in Malaysia to which such a stay was applied.
The first, he said, was arguably when her husband Datuk Seri Najib Razak was granted a similar stay after the High Court declared him guilty of embezzling funds from SRC International two years ago.
“It’s setting a precedent and will be seen as double standards in the eyes of the public.”

He also said this turn of events was surprising especially after Najib’s stay had drawn online petitions urging the authorities to appeal against it.

e said even though the fine for Rosmah was steep, the prosecution could have blocked the stay and pushed for conditions on the fine.
“The sum is excessive as it follows the law to the letter but the prosecution cannot forgo the principle that the fine must be paid despite the appeal to deter repeat offenders and potential criminals.
“The prosecution team could have barred the stay by confining the homemaker to a house arrest, limiting her freedom and travel except for essential trips such as grocery shopping or doctor’s visits. These were options to explore pending the payment of the fine.”
Rosmah was handed the verdict for asking and taking RM187.5 million and RM6.5 million in bribes (RM5 million and RM1.5 million on two separate occasions) respectively.
This was in exchange for securing a contract for a private company to set up a solar hybrid energy project including the maintenance of diesel generator sets for 369 Sarawak rural schools worth RM1.25 billion from the Education Ministry through direct negotiation.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, those who are unable to settle court fines would have to serve jail time instead of the sum.
Haniff, however, said a separate appeal on this or a cross-appeal against Rosmah’s appeal challenge, could be filed.
Haniff also said the close to RM1 billion penalty leveled on Rosmah, which was five times the value of the sum solicited and received, was a concern, adding that a parliamentary review on related provisions within the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act should be done.
“The law needs to be reviewed so it is just and practical and applications for a stay on fines don’t surface. The penalties are not to be confused as loot or gratification that has to be recouped. The authorities will handle that through their forfeiture exercises.”
Rosmah was sentenced to 10 years for each of the three charges against her. High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan ordered the jail sentences to run concurrently.