Judge sentences Isa Samad to six years’ imprisonment, RM15.45m fine

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, February 3, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, February 3, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — The High Court here sentenced former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad to six years’ imprisonment after finding him guilty on nine corruption charges earlier today.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali imposed a six-year sentence for each of Mohd Isa’s nine sentences for a total of 54 years, but allowed these to be served concurrently.

This effectively means the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar would be required to serve a maximum of six years.

Mohd Nazlan also imposed a cumulative fine of RM15.45 million on Isa, as required under Section 16(a)(A) of the MACC Act.

In the event Mohd Isa fails to pay the fine, Mohd Nazlan set a two-year prison sentence in default of unpaid fines for each of the nine charges.

He also said the prison term in lieu of the fine must be served consecutively.

Mohd Isa’s defence team is currently seeking a stay of execution, ahead of an expected appeal.

Earlier during mitigation, Mohd Isa’s lead counsel Datuk Salehuddin Saidin pleaded with Mohd Nazlan for lighter sentencing for his client, citing reasons such as his age of 70-years old, and his record of public service.

Salehuddin pointed out how Mohd Isa having served as the Negri Sembilan MB for over 20-years and several more as an MP should be factored in by the Court to decide on a reduced punishment.

Concerning a fine, the senior lawyer compared his client’s case to that of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM42 million SRC International trial which Mohd Nazlan also presided over and later convicted Najib.

“In that case the funds involved were RM42 over million, but my client’s case only involves only RM3 million. So we pray that he cannot be deserving of the same level of punishment as Your Honour has given out in that case,” said the lawyer.

He also argued how Mohd Isa is a father of nine children, most of which are still financially dependent on him, and would not be able to afford to pay a huge fine.

Then on a possible jail term, Salehuddin argued how the conviction was Mohd Isa's first offence and that such circumstances should warrant a brief prison sentence.

He added how Mohd Isa is suffering from heart disease and is on medication prescribed from the National Heart Institute.

“A long punishment would be detrimental to his health, given my client’s advance age,” he said.

In response, Deputy Public Prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz argued that a strict punishment should be handed down given the severity and seriousness of corruption offences and its effects to society, and to act as a deterrent to others looking to commit similar crimes.

Afzainizam said the accused was deserving of a lengthy sentence from Mohd Nazlan and argued that a 12-year jail term imposed on each of the nine charges would be fair.

The DPP also responded to Salehuddin’s position of his client being unable to afford huge fines, saying he was aware of his alleged offence from when charges were arraigned in 2018, and had ample time to round up sufficient cash to pay off the fine.

Following this, he told the court that a 10-year prison sentence in lieu of unpaid fines for each of the nine charges would be a fair punishment, before Mohd Nazlan handed down his sentence.

According to Section 24(1) of the MACC Act 2009, each of the offences Mohd Isa was found guilty for is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20-years and a fine not less than five-times the value of the gratification received, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

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