Former Felda chief Isa Samad’s graft, CBT trial set for October

Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad (left) arrives at the KL Court Complex on December 14, 2018. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad (left) arrives at the KL Court Complex on December 14, 2018. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Tan Sri Isa Samad’s trial for one criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine corruption charges over the inflated purchase price of a Kuching hotel while he was chairman of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will commence in October.

High Court Judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali today fixed for October 7 to 9, and 14 to 25 as the trial dates, with case management on May 13, financial daily The Edge reported today.

The 10 charges were reportedly read out to him again today, with Isa then claiming trial to all.

Deputy public prosecutor Allan Suman Pillai had during proceedings informed the court that 30 witnesses would be called to testify.

The CBT charge accused Isa, also a former Umno vice president, of approving the purchase of the RM160 million hotel in April 2014, without the approval from Felda’s board of directors, under Section 409 of the Penal Code.

His nine corruption charges under Section 16 of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Act, accuse Isa of receiving some RM3.09 million illegally to help seal the purchase of the hotel.

The hotel was purchased by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC), in which Isa at that time had been director.

Isa was initially charged on December 14 last year, and pleaded not guilty to the one CBT and nine corruption charges at the Sessions Court here, before it was moved to the High Court.

The court dates were also set after a Felda White Paper was tabled in Dewan Rakyat yesterday by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

It revealed the development authority had spent RM6 billion from the RM10 billion it earned through their initial public offering (IPO), on loss-making and non profitable ventures.

The White Paper also revealed how the federal government is set to inject some RM6.3 billion to bail Felda out, funds needed to manage the cash-strapped authority’s RM14.4 billion worth of liabilities.

Azmin also stated that Felda’s cash reserves stood at a critical RM35 million as of last year, after recording reserves within the RM2.5 billion region between 2007 and 2011.

Among the “dubious investments” unearthed by the White Paper was an apparent RM2.7 billion used to gain political support for the general elections, with another RM1.4 billion spent on “shady transactions”.

Azmin, while presenting the report, highlighted how Isa holding positions in 20 other related subsidiary companies while being Felda chairman created a conflict of interest, and was against corporate practices, accusing it of circumventing natural checks and balances.

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