Witness Tells Court Only Isa Samad Received RM3M Bribe, Prosecution Closes Case

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The prosecution closed its case today after a 15-day trial, with submission on March 23.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

The High Court was told today that investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found only former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad received RM3 million in bribe from former Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPSB) board member Ikhwan Zaidel.

MACC investigating officer Mohamad Safari Abdullah, 37, said Isa’s former special officer Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, 53, former Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) chief executive officer Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil, 49, and Ikhwan, 60, were not charged as they did not receive the bribe.

“I do not have to suggest the three names to be charged as there is no conspiracy among them, and investigation found that the money was only received by the accused (Mohd Isa),” he said during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz.

Mohamad Safari said this when questioned the reason he did not recommend for the three of them (referring to Zahid, Zaid and Ikhwan) to be charged as there was sufficient evidence to prosecuted them.

Today is the 15th day of Mohd Isa’s trial for criminal breach of trust and corruption involving more than RM3 million in connection with the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) in Kuching, Sarawak, by FICSB.

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.

The hearing was before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Safari, who is the 22nd witness, told the court that investigations found Zahid not involved in making the decision on the purchase of MPHS, but that he was only the middle-man to collect the bribe money (RM3 million) from Ikhwan.

“Muhammad Zahid, who is the 21st prosecution witness, received the money from Ikhwan for Tan Sri Isa. Handing over of the money (from Zahid to Mohd Isa) was also known to other witnesses.

“Ikhwan was not with Muhammad Zahid when the money was handed over to Tan Sri Isa, but Ikhwan knew that the money had been handed over to Tan Sri Isa,” he added.

Questioned by Afzainizam, the reason he disagreed with Isa’s lawyer, Datuk Salehuddin Saidin, that Ikhwan had interest in the bribe money, Safari said it was because Ikhwan received dividends from the sale of MPHS.

Earlier, during cross-examination by Salehuddin, Safari said he agreed with the counsel’s suggestion that there was no video recording or from closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) showing Zahid handing over the money to Isa.

He also agreed with agreed with Salehuddin that there was no agreement, document and statements to show that the money had been deposited into anyone’s account.

Salehuddin: There were no documents to show that Isa had received the money?

Safari: Correct.

Salehuddin: No evidence on the money?

Safari: I agree.

Salehuddin: No evidence to show that the money had gone into any account?

Safari: I agree.

Salehuddin: No evidence to show that there was money trail for the nine transactions?

Safari: I agree.

Salehuddin: Ikhwan did not even write it (transactions) down anywhere?

Safari: Yes.

Asked if the evidence gathered during investigation which was presented before the court was based on Zahid’s statement to the MACC, Safari replied in the affirmative.

Isa, 71, is charged with one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine counts of receiving bribes of more than RM3 million in connection with the purchase of MPHS by FICSB.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Felda Tower, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC here, between April 29, 2014 and Dec 15, 2015.

Deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz informed judge Nazlan that the prosecution was closing its case after Safari completed giving his testimony.

Afzainizam also told the court that the prosecution is offering six witnesses to the defence if the accused is called to enter his defence.

The witnesses are former board members of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB), namely Datuk Faizoull Ahmad, Datuk Dr Omar Salim, Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harum Narrashid, Datuk Nik Azman Mohd Zain and Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, as well as Isa’s secretary, Zuraida Ariffin.

Following which, Nazlan fixed March 23 for both parties to five their submissions and Feb 28 for them to file the written submissions.

Earlier reports:

Jan 14, Isa Gave Aide Up to RM50K for Collecting Kickbacks, Najib Ordered Hotel Purchase

Oct 24, “Salam” Was Code Word for Cash Request

Oct 18, Lawyer Accuses Former Felda Investment Boss of Blaming Isa to Save Own Neck

Oct 16, Isa Samad Took Lack of Objection from Felda Board as Unanimous Consent for Hotel Buy

Oct 9, Isa Samad Ordered Immediate Payment of RM100M to FICSB for Hotel Purchase

Oct 8, Isa Samad Trial: Kuching Hotel Later Valued at Half of Purchase Price

Oct 7, Prosecution to Prove Isa Samad Got More Than RM3M in Bribes