Isa knew Felda capped FIC investment at RM100 mil, court told

Isa Samad is charged with receiving over RM3 million in gratification in approving the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites hotel for FIC.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Felda chairman Isa Samad knew that all investments by its subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC) cannot exceed RM100 million, the High Court heard today.

Former Felda director-general Hanapi Suhada said the decision was made by the Felda board of directors on June 26, 2013.

“The RM100 million limit on investments was decided by the board when it met on that day,” Hanapi, the fifth prosecution witness, said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz.

He said according to the minutes of the board meeting, Isa was present when it was decided that FIC as a subsidiary company must adhere to the mandate on all investments.

Hanapi said the Felda board also appointed Isa as FIC board chairman, and his predecessor, Felda director-general Faizoull Ahmad and his deputy Muhammad Sufi Mahbub as members to the board.

FIC was incorporated on July 2, 2013 as Felda’s main investment arm.

Hanapi said the Felda board later appointed him to sit in FIC from July 8, 2015 to June 6, 2017.

He said Isa chaired all FIC board meetings and could sign payments based on the financial limits allowed as there was a resolution.

Isa is charged with one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine others for receiving over RM3 million in gratification in approving the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites for FIC.

He is accused of committing the offences at Menara Felda in Kuala Lumpur between April 29, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015.

The CBT charge provides imprisonment of up to 20 years, whipping and a fine upon conviction, while the corruption charges allow a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount.

Earlier, Azlan Mohamed Ismail, FIC’s acting chief financial officer, when cross-examined by lawyer Sallehudin Saidin, said that a different consideration was taken into account when the hotel was valued at RM137 million in 2014.

When questioned by Afzainizam, Azlan said the hotel was bought at an inflated price of RM160 million and caused a loss to FIC.

Azlan said a valuation by CH Williams Talhar Wong & Yeo Sdn Bhd for the financial year 2016 revealed that the hotel was valued at about RM80 million.

Hearing before trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues.