PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision on former Felda chairman Isa Samad’s appeal from a conviction in connection with the authority’s purchase of a hotel in Kuching nine years ago.
In 2021, the High Court found Isa guilty of nine corruption charges amounting to RM3.09 million. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fined RM15.4 million.
Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, who chaired the panel of three judges, called for both the prosecution and defence to put in additional submissions within two weeks on several issues raised during the appeal proceedings.
Other judges who heard Isa’s appeal were Justices Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and SM Komathy Suppiah.
Earlier today, Isa’s lawyer, Salehuddin Saidin told the court there was no evidence presented during the trial that shows Isa had received the RM3.09 million in question.
He said the alleged money was in fact paid to Isa’s former aide Zahid Arip.
“Zahid was an ‘interested’ witness in the whole incident because he was instrumental in the hotel sale going through.
“It was also in Zahid’s evidence that the accused (Isa) never asked for money (from businessman Ikhwan Zaidel, the hotel’s former director) but the High Court failed to look into that,” Salehuddin added.
Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz told the court that the RM3.09 million was meant for Isa after he participated in Felda’s board of directors meeting and approved the purchase.
“Ikhwan said he was afraid of the accused’s influence and was worried that the sale would be called off at the last minute,” he said.
Zahid said Felda’s subsidiary, Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd, had previously rejected a proposal to purchase Merdeka Palace.
Afzainizam acknowledged, however, that Isa did not deal directly with Ikhwan in any of the transactions by which the sum was paid.
“The money was handed by Zahid to Isa in a discreet manner, and Zahid went to Isa’s office without anyone seeing,” Afzainizam said.