Bung, in his capacity as a non-executive chairman of Felcra, was charged with three counts of corruption.
Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his celebrity wife Datin Seri Zizie Ezette A Samad claimed trial at two Sessions Courts on charges of corruption, amounting to RM2.8mil over Felcra Bhd’s investment in unit trusts worth RM150mil.
Dressed plainly in a black suit, Bung entered the dock shortly before 9am. The low-key proceedings ended just 10 minutes later.
In the first charge, Bung was accused of taking a bribe of RM2.2 million in cash from one Madhi Abdul Hamid, said to be a Public Mutual Berhad investment agent, through Zizie, between 12.30pm and 5pm on June 12, 2015.
In the second charge, Bung was accused of taking a RM262,500 bribe from the same Madhi at 12.16pm on June 19, 2015, through a unit trust account under the bank’s investment product Public Islamic Treasures Growth Fund that was registered under Zizie’s name.
The third charge was over Bung’s alleged acceptance of an RM337,500 bribe also on June 19, 2015, at 12.28pm from another Public Bank Berhad investment agent Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar via a Public Ittikal Sequel Fund account also registered under Zizie’s name.
The money, totalling RM2.8mil, was a reward for getting approval from the Finance Minister II for Felcra to invest RM150mil in Public Mutual Bhd.
The charges are framed under Section 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2009.
Bung faces a maximum 20 years in jail and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if he is convicted.
The 60-year-old pleaded not guilty before Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob on Friday.
Meanwhile, Zizie also pleaded not guilty before judge Azura Alwi to three counts of abetting her husband in the offences.
Azura allowed deputy public prosecutor Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar’s application for Zizie’s case to be transferred to Rozina’s court to be heard together.
She was charged under Section 28(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009 and faces the same punishment if convicted.
Umar asked for bail to be set at RM100,000 with one surety, to which Bung’s lawyer Datuk K Kumaraendran did not object.
The courts also ordered the couple to surrender their passports.
Kumaraendran said the defence may consider applying to transfer the case to the High Court.
Judge Rozina Ayob fixed June 10 for case mention.
The judge also asked Bung to furnish the address of both his residences in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.
Bung resigned as Felcra Berhad chairman on June 1 last year, less than a month after the 14th general elections.
He is also an Umno supreme council member.
After the brief court proceedings and the courtroom was fairly vacant save for a few persons believed to be Bung’s friends, former prime minister Najib Razak made an unexpected appearance.
He was heard saying “beri semangat” before entering a separate chamber where Bung was believed to be held, awaiting his bail to be posted.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who is from Sabah was also spotted together with Najib.
Najib was seen leaving the courtroom after several minutes.
Bung and Zizie, who were both dressed in matching black outfits, left the court at 11.45am in a black Toyota Vellfire after their bail was posted. Both of them did not speak to the media.
Felcra Berhad started out as a statutory body formed in 1966 with the name Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority, with the objective of helping the rural community join in economic activities and to improve their living standards.
It became a company in 1997 and was as of last October reported to be managing 220,086 hectares of plantation and farmland of 111,684 Felcra settlers and their families, and 30,189 hectares of Felcra’s own land.
Earlier report: May 1, Bung Moktar, Wife Held for Alleged Graft