Mohd Isa guilty of RM3m corruption involving Felda’s hotel purchase in Sarawak

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

FORMER Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (picture) has been found guilty of nine corruption charges in receiving RM3.09 million of gratifications relating to the agency’s hotel purchase in Sarawak.

Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali this morning delivered the verdict that the defence has failed to raise reasonable doubts on the balance of probability against the prosecution.

The defence is currently submitting mitigations.

Mohd Isa, who was the former director of Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC) and a former chairman of FGV Holdings Bhd, was indicted with nine counts of bribery totalling RM3.09 million, or about 1.9% of the total payment, on the RM160 million hotel acquisition of Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites in Kuching, Sarawak.

He was accused of receiving the RM3.09 million bribes in nine tranches from Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd director Ikhwan Zaidel through his former aide Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, for helping to approve the hotel purchase by FIC.

All the offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC, between July 21, 2014, and Dec 11, 2015.

The charges were framed under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission 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.

The trial started on Oct 8, 2019, with the prosecution calling 22 witnesses in total, while the defence case began on Aug 17 last year with a total of six witnesses including the accused.

The judge had previously discharged and acquitted Mohd Isa on one criminal breach of trust charge over the hotel purchase without the approval of the Felda board of directors after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.