I was paid up to RM50,000 to collect money for Isa, says ex-aide

Former Felda chairman Isa Samad is facing one charge of CBT and nine counts of corruption.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former aide to Isa Samad told the High Court that his then boss had offered him between RM10,000 and RM50,000 after he collected cash on behalf of the former Felda chairman.

Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, who worked as Isa’s special officer from 2011 to 2016, said that he collected cash on nine occasions from Ikhwan Zaidel, who was a director in Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, between July 2014 and December 2015, at various locations.

“Tan Sri (Isa) had called me to meet him in his office on a few occasions after I passed him the money from Ikhwan.

“He told me ‘Nah! Ambik sikit’ (Nah! Take some) and gave me between RM10,000 and RM20,000. Sometimes he gave me up to RM50,000 although I did not ask for it,” he said in his witness statement.

Zahid told the court that he was introduced to Ikhwan on September 2013 through a friend, Azizi Abd Wahab.

Muhammad Zahid Md Arip.

“Azizi brought Ikhwan to meet me at my office in Felda as Ikhwan had wanted to sell Merdeka Palace and Suites Hotel in Kuching.

“I told them that I will submit the proposal to Tan Sri,” he said.

Zahid said he was later informed by Ikhwan in March 2014 that Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC)’s then chief executive officer Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil had decided not to proceed with the hotel purchase.

However, Zahid said Ikhwan wanted to try and sell the hotel through another channel.

Zahid told the court that at some point in the same month, Isa, after receiving a phone call, had informed him that the then prime minister had asked Felda to reconsider its decision not to buy the hotel.

“I was shocked to hear it. The prime minister that Tan Sri was referring to was Najib Razak,” Zahid added.

Zahid said that Zaid had also told him the same thing about reconsidering the hotel purchase.

“Zaid’s exact words were ‘Nak buat macam mana, ini arahan PM, kita kena buat lah’ (What to do, this is the PM’s orders and we have to do it),” he said.

Zahid also said that Isa gave him instructions to call Ikhwan and “kirim salam” (send his greetings).

“This was not an ordinary ‘greeting’ as Tan Sri asked me to call Ikhwan to get political funding,” he added.

Previously Ikhwan told the court that he paid RM3.09 million to Isa, through Zahid after the latter had sent Isa’s “greetings” to him.

The hearing continues before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Isa is facing one charge of CBT and nine counts of corruption for allegedly receiving over RM3 million at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, between April 29, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015.

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.