KUALA LUMPUR — Rosmah Mansor, known for her diamond-studded handbags and overseas shopping trips, on Wednesday faced the first hearing in what could prove a lengthy series of corruption trials.
Today’s hearing saw Rosmah, the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, accused of receiving an illicit 6.5-million-ringgit (1.6-million-dollar) payment related to a solar power contract in eastern Malaysia.
Prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said that the 68-year-old former first lady “wielded considerable influence” on her husband’s government “by reason of her overbearing nature.”
Rosmah arrived at Kuala Lumpur High Court shortly before 10 am (0200 GMT) and about an hour after Najib had arrived for one of his multiple corruption trials for alleged plunder of a state fund and abuse of office.
After Najib’s hearings ended for the day at lunchtime, he made the short walk down the hall to the courtroom to Rosmah’s trial, taking a seat behind his wife.
Rosmah, who could be jailed for 20 years if found guilty, missed what was due to be her first hearing on Monday, saying she was unwell. On Wednesday she limped from the courtroom after proceedings ended early amid confusion about whether hearings will take place on Thursday.
Najib was prime minister for almost a decade before his National Front coalition lost power for the first time in Malaysian history in 2018 elections.
Now 94, Mahathir Mohamad regained office 15 years after retiring and after campaigning on an anti-corruption platform that targeted Najib, a former Mahathir protege.