Isa Samad to file representation letter, appoints new lawyers

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 30): Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad will file a representation letter to the Attorney General's Chambers in relation to his criminal breach of trust and graft case involving RM3.09 million.

This was informed by his new lawyers Datuk Salehuddin Saidin and Afifuddin Afifi.

"We had been recently appointed by Isa, replacing lawyers Ridha Abdah Subri and Lavinia Kumaraendran.

"I have been instructed to send a letter of representation to the Attorney General's Chambers on behalf of the accused," said Salehuddin.

Salehuddin was formerly a senior officer in the Attorney General's Chambers and previously Head of Prosecution Unit for the State of Selangor.

A letter of representation is a bid to have the prosecution to either drop or reduce a charge that the accused is charged with.

Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali noted the change of lawyers and the proposed letter of representation.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Afzainizam Abdul Aziz said he and his team are taking over the case from DPP Umar Saifuddin Jaafar.

The judge noted the change in prosecution team and made directions for the prosecution to complete the delivery of all related documents of the trial and the witness statements to the case by Sept 20.

Afzainizam undertook to complete the submission of the documents to the defence by then so as to facilitate the commencement of the trial.

"The prosecution would comply with Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code in the delivery of documents, 14 days before the trial starts," said the DPP.

Following this, Justice Nazlan fixed Sept 23 for case management to ensure compliance of all this, as the trial had been fixed on Oct 7-9, 14-18, and 21-25.

Mohd Isa, who was also formerly a long-time Negeri Sembilan menteri besar, had claimed trial to one criminal breach of trust charge and nine counts of receiving a RM3.09 million bribe that is linked to Felda's purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC Sdn Bhd).

On the first charge, Mohd Isa was alleged to have approved the hotel purchase for RM160 million without the approval of Felda's board of directors. He was charged with committing the offence at Menara Felda here on April 29, 2014.

The charge was framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, together with whipping and a fine, upon conviction.

Under the graft charges, he was accused of dishonestly receiving a cash gratification of RM3.09 million from Ikhwan Zaidel, a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, through Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, in return for helping approve the hotel purchase by FIC Sdn Bhd, for RM160 million.

The graft charges were made under Section 16 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, under which Mohd Isa stands to face a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of up to five times the amount of bribes he received.

Muhammad Zahid was Mohd Isa's former special officer. He is now working as an aide to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.