Appeals court to rule in Isa’s graft case on Jan 31

appeals court to rule in isa’s graft case on jan 31

Former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad is appealing his conviction and sentence to six years in prison and an RM15.4 million fine. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Jan 31 next year to deliver its ruling in former Felda chairman Isa Samad’s appeal against his conviction for corruption.

The date was fixed during case management today before the court’s senior assistant registrar, Huda Humaira Idris.

The Court of Appeal heard submissions from Isa’s defence team and the prosecution on Oct 16 but reserved its ruling.

The decision was supposed to be delivered today but was postponed. No reason was given for the deferment.

In 2021, a High Court found Isa guilty of nine corruption charges for accepting RM3.09 million in kickbacks for approving Felda’s purchase of a hotel in Kuching in 2014.

Isa, a former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar, was sentenced to six years in prison and fined RM15.4 million.

During the appeal hearing, Isa’s lawyer Salehuddin Saidin told the court that no evidence was adduced to show that Isa had received the alleged corrupt payment.

Salehuddin said the money was paid to Isa’s former aide Zahid Arip, whom he described as an “interested” witness in the incident owing to his “instrumental role” in the sale of the hotel.

The defence counsel also said the High Court had overlooked Zahid’s testimony that Isa had not requested any payment from businessman Ikhwan Zaidel, the hotel’s former director.

Instead, he said Zahid testified that Felda’s subsidiary, Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd, had previously rejected a proposal to purchase the Merdeka Palace hotel in Kuching.

In his submissions, deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul told the trial court that the RM3.09 million was meant for Isa after he participated in a Felda board of directors meeting to approve the purchase.

Afzainizam acknowledged, however, that Isa had not dealt directly with Ikhwan in any of the nine transactions by which the sum was paid.

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