Malaysia’s former first lady goes on trial for corruption
Malaysia’s former first lady, who allegedly bankrolled a luxurious lifestyle with kickbacks and stolen public money, went on trial Wednesday for corruption for the first time since her husband lost power.
Rosmah Mansor, notorious for making overseas shopping trips and owning vast collections of handbags and jewellery, became a lightning rod for public anger as the government of prime minister Najib Razak was engulfed by corruption allegations.
Her husband’s long-ruling coalition suffered a shock election defeat in 2018 in large part due to claims he and his officials plundered billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
Both Najib and his wife have since been hit with multiple charges over the looting of the investment vehicle, but Rosmah’s first trial centres on allegations she received bribes linked to a government project.
Prosecutors allege she pocketed 6.5 million ringgit ($1.6 million) for helping a company secure the project to provide solar power generators to schools on the Malaysian part of Borneo island.
The 68-year-old is also accused of soliciting a further 187.5 million ringgit. Rosmah faces three counts of corruption for the offences, which allegedly took place in 2016 and 2017.
- ‘Overbearing nature’
Rosmah, known for her imperious manner and enormous mane of hair, denied all the charges as proceedings began at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The former prime minister’s wife “occupied no official position. However, she wielded considerable influence by her own overbearing nature”, said prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram in his opening statement.
“She placed herself in a position where she was able to influence decisions in the public sector.”
The trial was supposed to start Monday but was delayed after Rosmah was admitted to hospital complaining of neck pain. On Wednesday she arrived in a car followed by an ambulance, and limped into the courtroom.
Najib, who is on trial at the High Court over the looting of 1MDB, made an appearance in the courtroom as the trial got underway.
The former leader and his wife’s lavish lifestyles came to symbolise the perceived rot in Malaysia’s ruling elite.
Following the 2018 election, police discovered valuables -- including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags -- worth up to $273 million in properties linked to the couple.
Tesla chief Elon Musk is now believed to be the father of nine children as a Business Insider report has now claimed that Musk had twins in November 2021 with Shivon Zilis, a top executive at Elon Musk's Neuralink, a brain-chip startup. She has been working in the company since May 2017, the same month she was named a project director in artificial intelligence at Tesla where she worked until 2019.
Britain's scandal-hit Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted a rearguard offensive late Wednesday against a cabinet and Conservative party revolt, firing a top ally and vowing to "fight on" despite dozens of his ministers resigning. The dismissal from the cabinet of "levelling up" secretary Michael Gove -- Johnson's right-hand-man in Britain's 2016 Brexit referendum campaign -- dramatically showed that the Conservative leader was not going to bow out without a fight.
Former British minister Sajid Javid delivered a withering attack on Boris Johnson's leadership on Wednesday, telling him and his fellow lawmakers in their ruling Conservative Party that it was time for the prime minister to resign. Javid stepped down as health minister on Tuesday, the first of a flurry of resignations of ministers who said they had lost confidence in Johnson and that he was not fit to govern.
The man charged with killing seven people at an Independence Day parade confessed to police that he unleashed a hail of bullets from a rooftop in suburban Chicago and then fled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he contemplated shooting up an event there, authorities said Wednesday. The parade shooting left another American community reeling — this time affluent Highland Park, home to about 30,000 people near the Lake Michigan shore.
On the first anniversary of the death of Father Stan Swamy, the Jesuit priest accused in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case who died in custody, a United States (US) Congressman has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives commemorating Swamy's life and demanding that the Government of India set up an independent investigation into his “arrest, incarceration and death”. India has, in the past, rejected international criticism around Swamy's arrest.