Court to decide if Isa has case to answer in RM3 million corruption trial

Former Felda chairman Isa Samad.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will decide tomorrow whether former Felda chairman Isa Samad will enter his defence or be freed from criminal breach of trust (CBT) and corruption charges amounting to RM3 million.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali will deliver the verdict at 10am on one count of CBT and nine counts of receiving bribes in connection with the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB).

High Court deputy registrar Mahyuddin Mohmad Som, when contacted, confirmed the matter.

Nazlan fixed the date after hearing arguments at the end of the prosecution’s case from deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz and counsel Salehuddin Saidin, who is representing Isa.

The court could either acquit him or order him to enter defence.

He will have three options to answer the charges against him: through sworn evidence from the witness box where he will be subject to cross-examination, through an unsworn statement from the dock, or by remaining silent.

The prosecution closed its case on Jan 14 after 15 days of hearing with 22 witnesses called to testify.

In 2018, Isa, 71, pleaded not guilty to one charge of CBT and nine counts of receiving bribes totalling RM3 million for approving the purchase of MPHS in Kuching.

The CBT offence comes under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment up to 20 years, whipping and fine.

The bribery offences were allegedly committed between April 29, 2014 and Dec 15, 2015.

Among the witnesses called during the trial were former Felda Investment’s CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil, Isa’s former special officer Zahid Md Arip, and two former secretaries of the company, Cheong Choon Yin and Nurul Uyun Abdul Jabat.

Isa has been out on RM800,000 bail with one surety.

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