A former special officer to Isa Samad told the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday that his then boss had offered him between RM10,000 and RM50,000 after he collected cash on behalf of the former Felda chairman.
Muhammad Zahid Md Arip said he received the money from a former member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPSB) board of directors, Ikhwan Zaidel, on behalf of Isa, during nine meetings at various locations between July 2014 and December 2015.
“Everytime I received the money, I did not touch or count the money that was handed over to me by Ikhwan…what I knew was that, the paper bag and black bag contained money.
“Tan Sri (Isa) had called me to meet him in his office on a few occasions after I passed him the money from Ikhwan.
“He told me ‘Nah! Ambik sikit’ (Nah! Take some) and gave me between RM10,000 and RM20,000. Sometimes he gave me up to RM50,000 although I did not ask for it,” Zahid said.
The 21st prosecution witness said this when reading out his witness statement on the 14th day of Isa’s trial for criminal breach of trust and corruption involving more than RM3 million in connection with the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suits (MPHS) by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) in Kuching, Sarawak.
The CBT charge provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years, whipping and a fine upon conviction, while the corruption charges allow for a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount.
Zahid told the court that he first met Ikhwan in September 2013 through a friend, JV Evolution Sdn Bhd (JVESB) director Azizi Abd Wahab, 54.
“Azizi contacted me saying that he and a friend (Ikhwan) wanted to meet me at my office in Felda because Ikhwan had the proposal on the sale of MPHS in Kuching.
“I told them that I will submit the proposal to Tan Sri,” he said.
He also told the court that FICSB CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil informed Ikwan about the FICSB board of directors’ decision on March 2014 to not proceed with the hotel purchase, but Ikhwan still asked him (Zahid) to arrange a meeting between him (Ikhwan) and Isa.
“I arranged the meeting between the two of them at Tan Sri Isa’s office. I was not with them at the meeting as I left the office to do my work,” he added.
Zahid said it was during the same month of the meeting that Isa received a telephone call from former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak asking Felda to buy MPHS.
“I was shocked to hear it. The prime minister that Tan Sri was referring to was Najib Razak,” Zahid added.
He said that Zaid had also told him the same thing about reconsidering the hotel purchase.
“Zaid’s exact words were ‘Nak buat macam mana, ini arahan PM, kita kena buat lah’ (What to do, this is the PM’s orders and we have to do it),” he said.
Zahid also said that Isa gave him instructions to call Ikhwan and “kirim salam” (send his greetings).
“This was not an ordinary ‘greeting’ as Tan Sri asked me to call Ikhwan to get political funding,” he added.
Previously, Ikhwan told the court that he paid RM3.09 million to Isa, through Zahid after the latter had sent Isa’s “greetings” to him.
The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.