Isa Samad trial: Felda Investment Corp board member did not seek approval for Kuching hotel purchase

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 7, 2019. — Bernama pic
Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 7, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Former secretary to the Felda Board told the High Court here today that no application was submitted by the Member of the Board of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) to seek approval for the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPSH) in Kuching, Sarawak.

Erwan Aman, 44, said that based on the decision of the Minutes of the Meeting of the Felda Board 321, the tabling of the FICSB Development Report on December 1, 2014 was not an application by FICSB Board Member to obtain investment approval for the purchase of MPHS from the Felda Board but only the progress report on the investment made by FICSB.

“There was no application to ratify the investment approval by FICSB board member during the meeting of the Felda Board.

“FICSB should have submitted a separate board paper to apply for ratification approval for investments exceeding RM100 million particularly with regard to the purchase of MPHS,” he said when reading his witness statement.

He said this during examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor S. Nithtia on the 13th day of the trial on a criminal breach of trust and corruption amounting to RM3 million involving MPHS valued at RM160 million faced by Mohd Isa.

Erwan, who is now head of the Human Capital Division, Training Division. Human Resource Department, Felda said the Paper on the FICSB Progress Report was merely for the purpose of reporting and not aimed at seeking investment approval from the Felda Board.

“Whether the Felda Board decides to approve or otherwise the Application Proposal Paper must be tabled to the Felda Board. If there is no approval from the Felda Board, the MPHS purchase does not get the approval of the Felda Board,” Erwan pointed out.

At the proceedings of the case earlier, prosecution witnesses namely Felda Administrative Officer, Siti Salwani Mohd Salleh; FICSB Acting Chief Financial Officer, Azlan Mohamed Ismail; former Felda General Manager, Datuk Hanapi Suhada and former Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil all confirmed that the purchase of MPHS did not get the approval from the Felda Board.

Erwan, the 19th prosecution witness, also said the absolute power to approve investments valued at more than RM100 was with the Felda Board.

Mohd Isa, 70, faces two counts of criminal breach of trust and nine charges of accepting bribes totalling more than RM3 million allegedly committed at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC between April 29, 2014 and December 11, 2015.

The trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali continues on January 13 next year. — Bernama

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