‘Salam’ for cash

The money requested by Mohd Isa for political work was handed over through 9 meetings with his former special officer


A FORMER board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPSB) told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that he had given bribes totalling RM3.09 million to Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (picture) after receiving “salam” (greetings) from the former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman.

Ikhwan Zaidel, 59, said the money requested by Mohd Isa for political work was handed over through nine meetings with Mohd Isa’s former special officer, Muhammad Zahid Mohd Arip, with the money placed in a paper bag.

Reading his witness statement in court, Ikhwan said he handed over the money to Muhammad Zahid between July 2014 and December 2015 at different locations.

“Muhammad Zahid contacted me every once in a while to convey ‘salam’ from Mohd Isa. I understood the meaning of the word ‘salam’ and acceded to the request (for political funds).

“After being contacted by Muhammad Zahid, I would contact the owner of JV Evolution Sdn Bhd, Azizi Abdul Wahab, to withdraw the money and give it to me so that I can hand it over to Muhammad Zahid,” he said during the examination-in-chief on the 10th day of the criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption case against Mohd Isa over the purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites, Kuching by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd.

The 16th prosecution witness said during the first meeting, RM100,000 was packed into a paper bag and handed over to Muhammad Zahid at the Hilton Hotel in Petaling Jaya (PJ), Selangor, in July 2014.

“I informed him (Muhammad Zahid) that the RM100,000 would be deducted from the promised RM3 million (in political funds), whereby I had used my own money first. I then handed over RM140,000 to Muhammad Zahid between July 21, 2014, and July 28, 2014, at the same location,” he said.

Ikhwan, who is also the former MD of GAPSB, said in October 2014, Muhammad Zahid had contacted him to send “salam” from Mohd Isa and he then contacted Azizi to withdraw RM300,000.

He said the money was handed over to Muhammad Zahid at his (Ikhwan’s) home at the Sunway Opal Condominium in PJ between Oct 17 and Oct 24, 2014.

“A few days later, between Nov 5 and 10, 2014, I handed over RM250,000 to Muhammad Zahid at my house, and on June 25, 2015, at around 11pm, I met Muhammad Zahid at my house and handed him another RM500,000,” he said.

Ikhwan said he then handed over RM500,000 to Muhammad Zahid on July 9, 2015, also at his home.

The witness said in August 2015, he had given RM300,000 to Muhammad Zahid at his (Ikhwan’s) brother Roney’s home in Samariang, Kuching, and handed over another RM500,000 to the special officer at his residence in Sunway Opal Condominium at 9.40pm on Sept 12, 2015.

“I also handed over RM500,000 to Muhammad Zahid at my house between Dec 4 and 7, 2015. I told Muhammad Zahid that this was the final payment of the RM3 million for Tan Sri Isa.

“I believe that all the money I gave to Muhammad Zahid was for Tan Sri Isa. After the money was handed over, I no longer received any requests from Muhammad Zahid to collect money on behalf of Tan Sri Isa,” he said.

Mohd Isa, 70, faces one count of CBT and nine counts of receiving gratification for himself amounting to more than RM3 million, allegedly committed at the Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, between April 29, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015.

The trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.