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Rosmah trial: Senior Treasury official says firm improperly awarded RM1.25 billion solar project

February 18, 2020

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Finance Ministry’s government procurement division secretary Datuk Othman Semail at the Kuala Lumpur High Court February 17, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Government procedures were not followed when Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd was issued the letter of award for a RM1.125 billion solar hybrid project in Sarawak, the High Court heard today.

Testifying in Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s corruption trial, Treasury deputy secretary-general Datuk Othman Semail said no prior price negotiations and engineering evaluations were conducted prior to the issuance.

Othman said such measures were usually taken to establish the viability and determine the benefits of proposed government projects.

“Even though the solar hybrid project is said to have been given to Jepak purportedly through direct negotiations, based on my knowledge, the rules and the work process in relations to price negotiations was not followed before the LOA was given to Jepak.

“More importantly, there were no price negotiations made between Jepak and the Ministry of Education to get the best value for money before the LOA was issued.

“The value of the project which is RM1.25 billion that has been set by Jepak from the beginning and was accepted fully by the Ministry of Education.

“To my knowledge, there was no valuation done even though it is mandatory for physical projects worth more than RM50 million,’’ he said.

Jepak got the solar hybrid project through direct negotiations with the Education Ministry.

Othman said the LOA was issued on November 10, 2016, on the instructions of then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is Rosmah’s husband.

At the time, Othman headed the Finance Ministry’s government procurement department.

During the start of the trial, former education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and former Education Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad both testified that Najib had pressured them through written instructions to expedite the issuance of the LOA to Jepak.

Othman further testified that based on documents he reviewed, he could not see any clear need for the project or determine its exact scope.

He also said the documents did not show how Jepak was capable of executing the project together with the ministry.

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