KUALA LUMPUR: Bloggers like Papagomo, Parpukari and The Unspinners were today named as among those paid up to RM5,000 monthly from 2012 to 2018 as part of the cybertroopers team set up to manage Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s reputation and image at that time.
Her former Special Officer Datuk Rizal Mansor revealed that the trio were just part of a long list of bloggers, Facebookers and individuals paid between RM1,500 and RM5,000 monthly.
He said the payment was made from the RM100,000 cash he received from Rosmah monthly.
“The amount I paid to all of them varied…I gave Facebookers between RM1,500 to RM2,000 while bloggers were paid RM3,000.
“I gave the team leaders like Papagomo RM5,000 monthly,” he said, adding there were about 12 to 15 bloggers, 30 Facebookers and four team leaders who received the payment monthly.
Rizal, 45, said he was willing to provide the full list of all those who received the payment to the court.
He said this under cross examination by Rosmah’s lead counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh, who wanted him to reveal all those who had received payments for being part of the cyber troopers team.
To another question on the source of the funds, Rizal said he was not aware that the RM100,000 given to him monthly by Rosmah was actually from a portion of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) budget.
Rizal said all he knew was that the cash was handed to him directly by Rosmah every month.
“I cannot confirm the source of the funds. All I can tell you is that I got the cash directly from her hands every month,” he said.
Asked if he had any receipts to prove payments that were made to the cyber troopers, Rizal said there was no documentation of it whatsoever.
Jagjit then asserted that Rizal did not have any record of the payments as the latter was actually pocketing most of the money himself.
The lawyer then went on to read out the names of a few pro Rosmah bloggers who had claimed that they did not get anything from Rizal even though they were part of the cyber troopers team.
Rizal, however, disagreed with the suggestion and said some of the names read out by Jagjit were not in the list of his bloggers.
The others, he said, had all been paid.
Jagjit: Do you have any receipts of the payments made?
Rizal: No. there was no need for it.
Jagjit: There are many who claim that they were not paid. You took a large portion of it for your own personal use.
Rizal: I disagree.
Jagjit: I put it to you there would have been no need for the team of cybertroopers if you had done your job well.
Rizal: That is subjective.
The 21st prosecution witness had earlier this week revealed that he used too get RM100,000 monthly from Rosmah to manage a team of cyber troopers.
The cyber troopers were roped in to safeguard Rosmah’s reputation.
They were responsible for monitoring and countering negative and critical news about her in the social media.
Rizal, who was the Special Officer to Rosmah from 2009 to mid 2018, had previously been the co-accused in the case.
However, all four charges against him were dropped earlier this year and Rizal has since become a key prosecution witness.
He is now placed in the witness protection programme and given 24-hour police guards.
Rosmah is on trial for soliciting RM187.5 million and two counts of receiving bribes totalling RM6.5 million from Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsuddin.
The bribes were allegedly received through Rizal as a reward for helping Jepak Holdings secure the RM1.25 bllion solar hybrid project for 369 schools in the interior of Sarawak.
Rosmah was accused of committing the offences between January 2016 and Sept 2017.
The trial before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan continues.
By : Sharanjit Singh – NST