by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
The RM3 million corruption trial involving former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad will commence on Oct 7 as fixed earlier after the High Court dismissed the prosecution’s application to postpone the trial as the lead prosecutor is occupied with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) trial.
High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in his decision said that the reason stated by the prosecution team led by senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram would be truly unnecessary and unjustified.
“While the court does not want to question his appointment, it is known that Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is occupied in trial, which will continue until at least November.
“Now, less than one month before the start of the scheduled trial, the prosecution informed this Court that Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram has been appointed to lead the prosecution in this case.
While this court does not wish to question this decision, it is a well-known fact that Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram is actively involved in leading the prosecution of a number of other high profile cases including the 1MDB-Tanore trial which is currently in progress and will continue until at least the middle of November.
“I understand there are hundreds of DPPs in this country and in any event there is still enough time from today until 7 October to prepare for the case, which I emphasise the accused was first charged in December last year,” said the judge.
Justice Mohd Nazlan had earlier set Oct 7 to 25 for Mohd Isa’s trial.
On Dec 14, 2018, Mohd Isa pleaded not guilty to one charge of CBT by approving a proposal for the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak, for RM160 million without the approval of the Felda Board of Directors.
He was alleged to have committed the offence at Level 50, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near here on April 29, 2014. The charge was framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years, whipping and fine, if found guilty.
He was also charged with nine counts of dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3,090,000 from Ikhwan Zaidel, who is a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, through one Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, as gratification for helping to approve the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak , by FIC Sdn Bhd , for RM160 million.
All the offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near here between July 21, 2014, and Dec 11, 2015.
The charges were made under Section 16a(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which provides a jail term of not exceeding 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.