KUALA LUMPUR: The decision on whether former Felda chairman Mohd Isa Abdul Samad will be called to enter his defence or be freed from the charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption amounting to RM3 million will be known on June 16.
The date was set by High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali after hearing arguments by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz and counsel Salehuddin Saidin.
On Jan 14 , the prosecution closed its case after 15 days’ of hearing, with 22 witnesses called to testify.
On Dec 14 2018, Isa, 71, pleaded not guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust and nine counts of receiving bribes totalling RM3 million for approving the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) in Kuching by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB).
He was accused of committing CBT at Level 50, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC here, on April 29, 2014 under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years, whipping and fine, if found guilty.
All the bribery offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC near here between April 29, 2014 and Dec 15, 2015.
Earlier, Afzainizam, in his argument running to more than 600 pages, said the important element presented by the prosecution was that Isa abused his position as Felda chairman by exceeding the stipulated investment mandate.
He said Isa also exceeded the mandate set by Felda as each project exceeding RM100 million should obtain the approval of the Felda board of directors.
He said the 15th prosecution witness, former FICSB CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil, had advised the accused on the mandate, but the accused told him (Zaid) that the deal need not be brought to the Felda board of directors.
On the argument of the counsel denying Isa received the money (RM3 million), Afzainizam said it was gratification.
“Nobody wants to leave trails, so it explains the nine transactions… there is no proof of receipts and no records. All these are based on trust.
“SP16 (former managing director of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd Ikhwan Zaidel) trusted SP21 (former special officer to Isa, Muhammad Zahid Md Arip). Similarly, the accused trusted SP21.
“Only three persons knew (about the bribes), namely, the accused, Zahid and SP16,” he said.
Salehuddin argued that Zahid was not a credible witness as his statement on how he received the money from Ikhwan was not reasonable as there were no records of when the money was received.
“His answer is just ‘copy paste’ (giving the same answers when asked). This case is very sad as it is based on baseless statements. I would say the charges were made up,” he said.
Salehuddin also said when Zahid was giving his statement in court, he also mentioned three dates for handing over the money to Isa, which were different from his statement during the case investigation.
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