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Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad (left) arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex ahead of the trial. -NSTP/Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

KUALA LUMPUR: There was no money trail on the alleged kickbacks totaling to RM3.09 million received by former Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad for the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer Mohamad Safari Abdullah revealed this in the High Court today during cross-examination by Isa’s counsel Datuk Salehuddin Saidin.

Questioned about his investigation into Isa’s case in 2017, the 37-year old said no money trail was found on the payment to Isa from former property developer director Ikhwan Zaidel purportedly for approving the purchase of the hotel in Kuching, Sarawak, by Felda’s subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd’s (FICSB).

Ikhwan previously testified that he gave Isa a total of RM3.09 million through the latter’s then special officer Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, on nine occasions between July 2014 and December 2015.

The witness had also agreed with the lawyer’s contention that there were no witnesses, records or closed circuit television (CCTV) recording to show that Zahid had in fact handed over the cash to Isa.

Salehuddin: There were no documents to show that Isa had received the money?

Safari: Correct

Salehuddin: No evidence on the money?

Safari: I agree.

Salehuddin: No evidence to show that the money had gone into any account?

Safari: I agree

Salehuddin: No evidence to show that there was money trail for the nine transactions?

Safari: I agree

Salehuddin: Ikhwan did not even write it (transactions) down anywhere?

Safari: Yes

Asked if the evidence gathered during investigation which was presented before the court was based on Zahid’s statement to the MACC, the witness replied in the affirmative.

Safari also testified that the investigation into Isa’s case on abuse of power (criminal breach of trust) to obtain bribes over the hotel purchase started with a complaint received on July 26, 2017.

He said however, he did not know who the complainant was and was only asked to investigate the case based on the information received.

Muhammad Zahid Md Arip. - NSTP/Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

Meanwhile, during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz, Safari said only Isa was being charged and not Zahid, Ikhwan or FICSB former chief executive officer Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil because the trio had not received the money.

Afzainizam asked Safari why the MACC did not implicate the three individuals when there was ample evidence to implicate them.

“Based on my investigations, the three had not received money from Ikhwan and there was evidence to show that the money was given to Isa.

“I do not agree that they be implicated as they are witnesses in the case and there was no conspiracy among them… At the end of the investigation, it was found that the money went to the accused."

After 15 days of trial, the prosecution wrapped up its case today.

In concluding the case, Afzainizam said the prosecution would offer six witnesses to the defence.

They were former FICSB board members Datuk Faizoull Ahmad, Datuk Dr Omar Salim, Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harum Narrashid, Datuk Nik Azman Mohd Zain, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Isa's secretary Zuraida Ariffin.

A total of 22 witnesses were called to testify.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali fixed March 23 for submissions.

On Dec 14, 2018, Isa, 71, pleaded not guilty to one count of CBT by approving the purchase of Merdeka Palace without approval from Felda board of directors on April 29, 2014.

The former Umno vice-president also faces nine counts of receiving graft totalling more RM3.09 million from property developer Gegasan Abadi Sdn Bhd former director Ikhwan between April 2014 and December 2015.

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