KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 ― Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin was today charged with receiving a total of RM2.8 million bribe in one week in June 2015 when he was director of Felcra Berhad then.
Dressed plainly in a black suit, Bung Moktar entered the dock shortly before 9am. The low-key proceedings ended just 10 minutes later.
To each of the three charges read aloud under Section 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, Bung Moktar calmly said, “claim trial”.
In the first charge, Bung Moktar was accused of taking a bribe of RM2.2 million in cash from one Madhi Abdul Hamid, said to be a Public Mutual Berhad investment agent, through the Umno man's wife and popular actress, Datin Seri Zizie Izette A. Samad, between 12.30pm to 5pm on June 12, 2015.
In the second charge, Bung Moktar was accused of taking a RM262,500 bribe from the same Madhi at 12.16pm on June 19, 2015 through a unit trust account under the bank's investment product Public Islamic Treasures Growth Fund that was registered under his wife's name.
The third charge is over Bung Moktar's alleged acceptance of a RM337,500 bribe also on June 19, 2015 at 12.28pm from another Public Bank Berhad investment agent Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar via a Public Ittikal Sequel Fund account also registered under his wife's name.
The bribes were allegedly received just minutes apart on June 19, 2015 ― totalling RM600,000.
According to the chargesheet, all three bribes were allegedly a reward for Bung Moktar for obtaining approval from the Finance Minister II for the company to make a RM150 million investment in Public Mutual Berhad's investment trust products.
Bung Moktar was at that time a Felcra Berhad non-executive director.
All three counts were said to have been committed at the same Public Bank Berhad branch in Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
The penalty for those found guilty of any of the charges under Section 24(1) of the MACC Act is a maximum 20-year jail term, and a fine of RM10,000 or five times the amount of the bribe, whichever is higher.
The Sessions Court granted bail of RM100,000 with one surety and also ordered the Sabah Umno leader to surrender his passport until the end of the trial.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Umar Saifuddin Jaafar asked for bail to be set at RM100,000 with one surety, to which Bung Moktar's lawyer Datuk K. Kumaraendran did not object.
Kumaraendran said the defence may consider applying to transfer the case to the High Court.
Judge Rozina Ayob fixed June 10 for case mention.
The judge had also asked Bung Moktar to furnish the address of both his residences in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.
Felcra Berhad is owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.
Bung Moktar resigned as Felcra Berhad chairman on June 1 last year, less than a month after the 14th general elections where the Barisan Nasional coalition he belongs to was defeated.
Bung Moktar, who will be turning 60 later this year, is also Umno supreme council member.
Bung Moktar's actress wife Zizie was separately charged with three counts of allegedly abetting him in the bribery offences. Her prosecution took place in a separate courtroom before another Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi.
Azura allowed Umar's application for Zizie's case to be transferred to Rozina's court to be heard together.
Zizie was also released on bail of RM100,000 with one surety.
The couple, who were both dressed in matching black outfits, left the court at 11.45am in a black Toyota Vellfire after their bail was posted. Both of them did not speak to the media.
The couple were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Sabah last Wednesday when they showed up at its state headquarters to complete investigations in relation to a corruption case involving Felcra.
Both were later released on MACC bond then.
MACC had then said that it had received consent from the Attorney General's Chambers to charge the couple in Kuala Lumpur today.
Felcra Berhad started out as a statutory body formed in 1966 with the name Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority, with the objective of helping the rural community join in economic activities and to improve their living standards.
It became a company in 1997, and was as of last October reported to be managing 220,086 hectares of plantation and farmland of 111,684 Felcra settlers and their families, and 30,189 hectares of Felcra's own land.