by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
THE High Court here today ordered former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad (picture) to enter defence on nine corruption charges amounting to RM3 million in connection with the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB), six years ago.
Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali however discharged and acquitted Mohd Isa, 71, on one criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge over the hotel purchase for RM160 million without the approval of the Felda Board of Directors after finding the prosecution failed to prove prima facie case against him.
In his judgment, Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said there was credible evidence against Mohd Isa in respect of the nine charges.
“Prima facie case has been proven. As such, I now call upon Tan Sri Isa to enter his defence in respect of the nine charges under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act,” the judge said.
Mohd Isa was charged with nine counts of dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3,090,000.00, 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 the hotel by FICSB 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.
Each charge, framed under Section 16a(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, 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.
On the CBT charge, Mohd Isa was charged as director of FICSB and trusted with the company fund, had committed 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.
The offence was allegedly committed at Level 50, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near here on April 29, 2014, under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years, whipping and fine, if found guilty.
Mohd Isa was represented by lawyer Datuk Salehuddin Saidin while deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz appeared for the prosecution.
The prosecution closed its case on Jan 14 this year after 15 days of hearing with 22 witnesses called to testify.