Defence in Isa Samad’s graft trial closes case after calling six witnesses


THE defence in the case of former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (picture), who is facing 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), closed its case today after calling six witnesses.

Mohd Isa’s counsel, Datuk Salehuddin Saidin, told High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that the defence was closing its case after it last witness, Dr Mohd Zaqrul Razmal Mohd Podzi, 43, concluded giving his evidence.

Dr Mohd Zaqrul Razmal, in his evidence among others, said he had met Mohd Isa’s former Special Political Officer Muhammad Zahid Md Arip to discuss the purchase of fuel  by Felda.

Justice Mohd Nazlan set Nov 4  to hear submissions from both parties before deciding whether to convict or acquit Mohd Isa from the corruption charges.

He also ordered the prosecution and the defence to file their written submissions by or on Oct 2 and the reply before Oct 16.

On June 19, Justice  Mohd Nazlan ordered  Mohd Isa to enter his defence on nine corruption charges after finding the prosecution had successfully adduced credible evidence proving each and every essential ingredients of the offence of accepting gratification under Section 16 (a) (A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

Mohd Isa, 71, opted to testify under oath from the witness box, where he will be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution.

On Aug 17, Mohd Isa, in his defence, denied receiving RM3 million, in nine transactions, from his then Special Political Officer Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, over the purchase of MPHS and also said he never discussed or asked Muhammad Zahid about the purchase.

The defence case took three days from Aug 17, 19 and today.

Mohd Isa was 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 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.