Isa applies to transfer graft case to High Court

Former Felda chairman Isa Samad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Felda chairman Isa Samad is seeking to transfer his corruption cases to the High Court.

His lawyer K Kumaraendran informed Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi that the defence would file the application to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court by March 20.

Isa is facing one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine counts of corruption involving more than RM3 million, in connection with a hotel purchase by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) in Kuching, Sarawak.

Kumaraendran said the defence would only be able to do so after it had obtained all the documents from the prosecution.

The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Umar Saifuddin Jaafar, did not object and informed the court it had handed over the remaining 32 documents on the case to the defence.

“All the documents have been submitted to the defence but if there are other documents, they will be handed over before March 15,” he said.

Azura set April 4 for mention on the application to transfer the case.

Isa was charged with committing CBT by approving a proposal for the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching for RM160 million without the approval of the Felda board of directors.

His action was said to be contrary to the decision of the Felda board to give its mandate to members of the FIC board to make decisions on investments involving projects valued at RM100 million and below.

The charge was framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for an imprisonment for up to 20 years, whipping and fine, if found guilty.

Isa was also charged with receiving gratification for himself cash totalling RM3,090,000 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 Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites by FIC Sdn Bhd for RM160 million.

All the offences were allegedly committed at Menara Felda between July 21, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015.

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