Isa Samad's fate to be known tomorrow

27 Nov 2023 11:57am
 Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad - BERNAMA FILE PIX

PUTRAJAYA - The verdict on former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad's appeal against his conviction and sentence for nine counts of corruption will be delivered by the Court of Appeal, tomorrow.

The decision will be delivered by a panel of three judges comprising Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk S.M.Komathy Suppiah at 9am.

On Feb 3, 2021, the Kuala Lumpur High Court found Isa, 73, guilty of receiving bribes of more than RM3 million over the purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak.

The offences were allegedly committed on the 49th Floor of Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No 11, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur between July 21, 2014, and Dec 11, 2015.

Trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (now Court of Appeal judge) sentenced Isa to six years jail for each offence with a cumulative total of 54 years imprisonment term and a fine of RM15.45 million or 18 years imprisonment in lieu of the fine.

The High Court ordered the sentence to run concurrently, which meant that Isa has to serve only six years.

However, Isa was granted a stay of execution pending his appeal.

The court also increased his bail amount from RM800,000 to RM1.5 million and imposed an additional condition which was for Isa to report to the police station on the first day of each month until the disposal of the appeal.

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The former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar filed a notice of appeal against his conviction, jail sentence and fine on Feb 4, the same year.

The former Umno leader was represented by lawyer Datuk Salehuddin Saidin while the prosecution was led by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz.

In the appeal hearing last month, Salehuddin argued that the High Court judge had erred when convicting his client of corruption, citing contradictory findings.

He said the testimony of Isa's former aide Muhammad Zahid Md Arip who was the 21st prosecution witness (SP21) regarding the handing over of money, did not support the element of the charge.

The lawyer also said that the High Court judge should not rely on Zahid's testimony alone.

He added that the court needed to scrutinise Zahid's testimony as Zahid was an interested witness.

For the record, during the trial, the witness told the court that he handed over money nine times, amounting to RM3 million in paper bags and black bags to the accused at the office on the 49th floor of Menara Felda.

Meanwhile, Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPSB) board member Ikhwan Zaidel who was SP16 in a statement said that every time Zahid delivered a 'salam', he understood that it was a sign that Isa needed money and it would be given through SP21.

In his defence, Isa said that he never sent any sort of greetings (salam) because he had no connection or knew Ikhwan personally.

The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that the court needed to consider the prosecution's evidence that Isa was involved in the board meeting approving the purchase of the hotel and the RM3 million was a reward for approving the purchase.

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