17 June 2019, Monday | 05:58pm

Najib’s former friend describes Rosmah as ‘de facto prime minister’ in Al Jazeera interview


KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Deepak Jaikishan, a former close friend and business associate of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, has alleged that the former prime minister’s wife is the “de facto prime minister”.

In a no-holds barred interview with Al Jazeera’s 101 East journalist Mary Ann Jolley for the final episode of a series on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, which will be aired tomorrow, Deepak said: “It went to a point where every project had to go through her (Rosmah).”

Deepak in the interview titled “Malaysia: Power and Corruption” alleged to Jolley how he used to bribe Najib and Rosmah with millions of ringgit in cash and jewellery to get lucrative contracts from the government in return.

“She’s just plain greedy. She wants it all.

“The diamonds, especially the expensive, priceless pieces, were her way of keeping their money. It’s an easy way for her to siphon off the money and to keep it in a very simple place.

“They never imagined they would lose the election. They never imagined the police would raid their house.”

Highlights of the interview were provided by Al Jazeera in a statement to the media today.

Deepak also related to the award-winning journalist how the jewellers would allegedly go to Rosmah’s house with him and she would tell him to settle the payments directly with the jeweller after she had made her choice.

Rosmah already has 17 money-laundering charges to an amount in excess of RM7 million under her belt.

She is also facing two counts of graft for allegedly soliciting RM187.5 million as a bribe and allegedly receiving RM1.5 million as a bribe in exchange for helping a company obtain a solar hybrid power project for electricity supply in rural schools in Sarawak.

In an exclusive interview with 101 East last October, Najib insisted he was innocent.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not doing anything wrong,” he had said.

The interview titled “Malaysia: Najib Speaks” featured Jolley’s world-exclusive interview with the former prime minister, which was recently named Interview of the Year by the Royal Television Society.

Najib’s main trial over the 1MDB scandal has yet to start as he is currently facing charges over funds allegedly misappropriated from SRC International, a former unit of the state investment firm.

The 1MDB scandal saw money allegedly siphoned from the sovereign fund was used to produce Hollywood blockbusters, decadent parties, luxury yachts, diamonds worth millions — it was a story that prompted outrage around the world and brought down a government.

The former PM and his wife were banned from leaving the country after police raids on their family homes seized almost RM120 million in cash and more than RM720million worth of luxury goods and jewellery.

“It’s been a dramatic fall for Malaysia’s former power couple.

“The former first lady has long been the subject of fascination but it’s only now that we can reveal a more nuanced picture of how the scam was allegedly carried out and how the couple functioned while Najib was in the top job,” says Jolley in the latest interview.




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