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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

No money trail found in alleged RM3 mil payment to Isa, MACC officer tells court

Former Felda chairman Isa Samad faces one charge of CBT and nine counts of corruption in the alleged receipt of more than RM3 million over a hotel purchase.
KUALA LUMPUR: The investigating officer in Isa Samad’s RM3.09 million corruption case told the High Court today authorities did not find any money trail on the alleged kickbacks he received from Felda’s hotel purchase.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Mohamad Safari Abdullah said this when questioned by Isa’s lawyer, Salehuddin Saidin, on his investigation into the former Felda chairman’s case in 2017.
Salehuddin asked Safari whether MACC had found any money trail on the alleged payment by Sarawak businessman Ikhwan Zaidel to Isa for approving Felda Investment Company’s purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites in Kuching.
Ikhwan had testified previously that he paid RM3.09 million in nine transactions to Isa between July 2014 and December 2015.
Safari said MACC did not find any money trail on the nine payments allegedly passed to Isa through his former aide, Muhammad Zahid Md Arip.
“The alleged incidents took place from 2013 to 2015 and my investigation only started in 2017. I believed the money was no longer around,” he said.
Safari also agreed with Salehuddin that there was no closed-circuit television recordings or witnesses that can confirm that Zahid had accepted the cash from Ikhwan.
Salehuddin: So, what you gathered during your investigation until the evidence was presented to court was based on Zahid’s statement to MACC?
Safari: Yes.
The MACC officer also told the court that the investigation into Felda’s purchase of Merdeka Palace began after a complaint was received on July 26, 2017.
The complaint stated that Isa, then chairman of Felda Investment Corporation (FIC), had abused his position to obtain bribes over the hotel purchase.
Safari said that after he had completed his investigation, the deputy public prosecutor instructed him to file charges against Isa under Section 409 of the Penal Code for alleged criminal breach of trust (CBT) as well as Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act for allegedly receiving RM3.09 million from Ikhwan.
Isa is facing one charge of CBT and nine counts of corruption in the alleged receipt of more than RM3 million at Menara Felda, Persiaran KLCC.
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 upon conviction.
The hearing before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.- FMT

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