Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been sentenced to a decade in prison for soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for government contracts. The verdict was given on Thursday. Recently Najib Razak was also sentenced by the court. Reuters news.
Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohd Zaini Mazlan said Rosmah must also pay a fine of 970 million ringgit ($216.45 million) for the three bribery charges. The prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge granted a stay of his sentence, so Rosmah will not go to prison Thursday. But he can appeal the decision to two higher courts.
“I must admit that I am very sorry for what happened today,” Rosmah said after the court verdict. No one saw me take the money, no one saw me count the money…. But if that’s the end I leave it to God.’
Prosecutors sought the ‘maximum or near maximum’ sentence. However, his lawyers instead sought a one-day jail sentence.
Former First Lady Rosmah is seen as a powerful figure behind Najib. He has been widely criticized in Malaysia for his extravagant lifestyle and interest in Hermes Birkin bags.
Rosmah, 70, pleaded not guilty to three charges of soliciting and accepting $279 million in bribes from Najib’s government between 2016 and 2017 to help a company secure a solar power supply project.
Prosecutors said Rosmah demanded 178.5 million ringgit in bribes and received 6.5 million ringgit from an official of the company that got the project.
Rosmah argued that he was framed by his former aides as well as several government and company officials involved in the project.
Rosmah faces 17 charges of money laundering and tax evasion in a separate case.
Najib and his wife have been at the center of a massive crackdown on mounted corruption since their defeat in a historic 2018 election that ended nine years in power.
Last week, Malaysia’s top court convicted Najib and sentenced him to 12 years in prison in a case linked to a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal in state funds. He is under trial in four other corruption cases.
Police seized 12,000 pieces of jewelry, 567 luxury handbags, 423 watches and $26 million in cash from the couple after Najib’s unexpected defeat in the 2018 election.