Isa Samad claims trial to CBT and graft charges over RM3m

Ex-Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad will be charged today over an inflated hotel acquisition; Felcra’s CEO goes to the MACC and Equanimity gets a minimum price tag of US$130 mil, half its original value. Photo by : MOHD SUHAIMI MOHAMED YUSUF

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad has pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court today to one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine counts of receiving gratifications amounting to RM3.09 million.

The former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code for CBT, while the graft charges are under Section 16 of the MACC Act which is punishable under Section 24 of the same Act.

The CBT charge was pertaining to the purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak for RM160 million - although it was valued at RM110 million at the time - without the approval from the Felda board of directors.

He claimed trial to all the charges before Sessions judge Azura Alwi.

The graft charges each carries a prison sentence of not more than 20 years and a fine of at least five times the amount of the bribe, or RM10,000, or whichever the higher upon conviction.

As for the CBT charge, it is punishable with a prison sentence of between two and 20 years, a fine, and caning upon conviction.

The offenses were alleged to be committed between April 29, 2014 and December 11, 2015 at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No 11, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, during which Isa was the chairman of Felda Investment Corporation Berhad (FIC).

The prosecution, led by Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar initially demanded a RM2 million bail with two sureties for Isa.

However, Isa’s defense counsel led by Datuk K. Kumaraendran argued that the amount was excessive as the client would not abscond considering investigations have taken place over a year ago.

The court eventually granted bail at RM800,000 with one surety and ordered Isa's passport to be surrendered.

Isa arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, dressed in a teal batik shirt, at 8.30am, half an hour before court proceedings began at 9am.