Isa Samad faces charges today over hotel purchase

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By BERNAMA

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (picture) is expected to be charged today over the purchase of a hotel in Kuching by the Federal Land Development Authority’s (Felda) investment arm, Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC).

The prosecutors are expected to level corruption and criminal breach of trust indictments against the former Felda chairman over the alleged bloated price paid for a hotel in Kuching.

Mohd Isa, who is also a former board member and director of FIC, is expected to face the charges at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

The former mentri besar (MB) of Negri Sembilan was seen at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday morning. He had signed an undertaking notice to appear in the court today.

Mohd Isa was accompanied by his wife, Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters, according to a Bernama report.

The MACC in a statement said it has obtained permission from the Attorney General’s Chambers to charge Mohd Isa.

The MACC could charge Mohd Isa under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 that covers the abuse of one’s office for personal gratification.

Mohd Isa, who served as Negri Sembilan’s MB for 22 years, was remanded for five days in August to assist the MACC in its investigation into the purchase of a hotel in London by FIC. It is not known whether he will face charges related to the London hotel purchase.

In 2014, FIC bought the 213-room Merdeka Palace Hotel in Kuching for RM160 million, despite its actual value of RM110 million.

A government audit in 2016 found that Felda had also invested in other projects that resulted in losses of more than RM100 million.

The MACC had previously investigated the purchase of the Park City Grand Plaza Hotel in Kensington, London, which was formerly known as Grand Plaza Kensington for £61 million (RM322.69 million).

FIC is said to have purchased the hotel for an inflated price of RM330 million, despite the actual value being about RM110 million.

It was reported that FIC has put the freehold Park City Grand Plaza Hotel for sale.

On Aug 30, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki reportedly said the public prosecutor was “weighting up” charges against Mohd Isa on the hotel purchases by FIC.

Mohd Isa made headlines when he contested as an independent candidate in the Port Dickson by-election.

Mohd Isa, who was said to be popular among the residents of Port Dickson, lost his deposits.