Isa Samad's CBT, graft case transferred to High Court

Former Felda chairperson Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (left). Photo by Hafiz Yatim

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 2): The High Court has today agreed the transfer of former Felda chairperson Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad's criminal breach of trust and corruption case in relation to the Kuching hotel purchase, from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

This follows his counsel Datuk K Kumaraendran having told the court that it was better the matter be heard at the High Court, as there are issues with the charge made by the prosecution as they charged Mohd Isa but not the purported intermediary who allegedly received the bribe payment.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Umar Saifuddin Jaafar, who appeared with DPP Allan Suman, said he has no objection to the transfer.

As a result, Justice Mohd Zaini Mazlan allowed the transfer of the case to the High Court from the Sessions Court.

The case is further fixed on Thursday (April 4) for the defence and prosecution to inform the Sessions Court of the transfer.

Mohd Isa, who was formerly Negeri Sembilan menteri besar and former Umno vice president, is facing a criminal breach of trust and nine graft charges to the amount of RM3.09 million.

He had claimed trial last Dec 14 to CBT and graft charges in connection to the purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC Sdn Bhd).

On the first charge, Mohd Isa is alleged to have approved the hotel purchase for RM160 million without the nod of the Felda board of directors.

He is charged with committing the offence at Level 50, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near 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, whipping and fine, if convicted.

For the corruption charges, he was charged with dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3.09 million, from Ikhwan Zaidel, who is a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, through one Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, as gratification for helping to approve the purchase of hotel by FIC Sdn Bhd, for RM160 million.

All the offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near here between July 21, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015.

The charges were made under Section 16a(A) of the MACC Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which carries a jail term of not exceeding 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

The intermediary here is Mohd Isa's former special officer, Zahid, who is now an aide of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.