A judge in Kuala Lumpur is due to decide whether Rosmah Mansor is guilty of allegations of bribery in relation to a solar power project.
A Kuala Lumpur court is due to announce its decision in a bribery case against Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia’s jailed former prime minister Najib Razak.
Rosmah, the self-styled ‘first lady of Malaysia’, who gained notoriety during her husband’s decade in power for her extravagant lifestyle, is accused of soliciting bribes worth 187.5 million Malaysian ringgit ($41.8m) and receiving 6.5 million Malaysian ringgit ($1.45m) in connection with a project to provide solar power to schools in rural Sarawak.
She pleaded not guilty at the start of her trial and on Thursday morning arrived at court in a traditional Malay outfit with a headscarf and mask — all in yellow. She did not speak to reporters.
Najib lost power in May 2018 — the first time that his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party had lost an election since independence — amid public anger over the multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB. The United States Department of Justice alleges that some $4.5b was stolen from 1MDB, some of which ended up in Najib’s private bank accounts.
Following the election, crowds thronged a Kuala Lumpur airport amid reports Najib and Rosmah were planning to leave the country on a private jet, as police searched their properties for evidence, hauling away hundreds of millions of dollars in cash, designer handbags and numerous items of luxury jewellery and branded watches.
Rosmah, with her distinctive bouffant hairstyle, faces as many as 20 years in prison if found guilty. She may be allowed to stay out of jail if she appeals a guilty verdict to a higher court.
Earlier this week, she filed an affidavit calling on the judge to be recused, and the court began hearing the claim ahead of the potential verdict.
Rosmah’s husband was found guilty of corruption in 2020 in the first of the cases he faced in connection with the 1MDB scandal.
The sentence was upheld by Malaysia’s highest court last week and he is now serving his sentence in Kajang prison south of Kuala Lumpur, the first former Malaysian prime minister to be jailed.
Najib also faces four other cases involving 1MDB, while Rosmah faces additional charges of money laundering and tax evasion.