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Malaysia: Former First Lady Sentenced to 10 Years For Bribery

    Malaysia: Former First Lady Sentenced to 10 Years For Bribery
    Last updated: 2 months ago
    Image credit: Reuters [via CNN]

    Facts

    • On Thurs., the Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former PM Najib Razak, to 10 years in prison for seeking and receiving bribes in exchange for a government contract. Rosmah denied the charges. [1]
    • She was found guilty on three counts of bribery in connection with a $279M solar power project in Borneo. Rosmah is said to have demanded $41.8M, and received almost $1.5M to help Malaysian company Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd win the contract. [2]
    • The ruling comes a week after her husband, Najib, began serving a 12-year jail sentence in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal after the rejection of his final appeal to the Malaysia's Federal Court. [3]
    • Shortly after the decision was announced, her attorney Datuk Jagjit Singh stated that the defense will appeal the case. He expects the process to take roughly six months. [4]
    • Rosmah is entitled to seek bail while she appeals against her judgement which, as well as jail time, also includes a fine of 970M ringgit (around $200M). [5]
    • Rosmah still faces 17 other charges, related to money laundering and tax evasion, to which she has pleaded not guilty. [6]
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    Spin

    Narrative A

    This decision delivers a strong message against corruption, which has been rampantly spreading through the fabric of Malaysian society. Rosmah took advantage of her position as first lady to damage the public interest and benefit herself. A failure to punish her would risk condoning this unacceptable and offensive crime.

    Narrative B

    This ruling has been improperly influenced by external, unauthorized individuals due to the online publication of a draft judgement a week before the presiding judge was due to deliver a verdict. The fact that Judge Zaini Mazlan wasn't disqualified from this case after the scandal and confusion surrounding this article shows that Rosmah did not recieve a fair trial.

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