No report to authorities on purchase of hotel exceeding RM100 million – witness


The High Court was told today that Members of the Board of Directors (BoD) or the management of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) did not make a report to the authorities although the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) worth RM160 million in Kuching, Sarawak exceeded the mandate of RM100 million set by the Felda Board of Directors.

The matter was informed by FICSB former Chief Executive Officer Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil, 48, when replying to a supplementary question from Deputy Public Prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz on the seventh day of the criminal breach of trust and corruption trial involving RM3 million allegedly committed by former Felda Chairman, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad on the purchase of MPHS before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Afzainizam: Can you explain why there was no report by any member of the Board of Directors of FICSB

Mohd Zaid: I cannot speak on behalf of the other members of the Board, but in my opinion it was not an offence at the level of FICSB because it was based on the decision of the FICSB Board of Directors.

The 15th prosecution witness said the decision of the FICSB management to sign the sale and purchase agreement making payment to the hotel owners (Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd) was in line with the decision and approval of the FICSB Board of Directors.

Earlier, Mohd Zaid said the management of FICSB suggested to change the name of MPHS to Grand Plaza Kuching so that they would be similar to other hotel chains under Felda and FICSB namely Grand Plaza Bayswater and Grand Plaza Kensington both of which were located in London, United Kingdom.

He said the FICSB Board decided to approve the application by the company management to obtain an allocation of RM7.34 million and the change of name to Grand Plaza Kuching.

“The FICSB had made two payments by utilising the company’s existing funds. After the two payments were made, the FICSB tried to obtain funding from the banks since December 2014 but failed.

“The FICSB management had decided to obtain the funds for the short term advance from Felda. I had directed FICSB Chief Financial Officer Aznam Shahudin to issue a letter (to obtain the advance) to Felda Financial Director Mohd Shahrin Mohd Ali,” he said when reading his witness statement.

Mohd Isa, 70, faces a criminal breach of trust charge and nine charges of accepting bribes totalling more than RM3 million allegedly committed at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC between April 29 2014 and December 11 2015.

The proceedings are heard before Justice Mohd Nazlan.