Crime & Courts

Appeals Court to decide on Isa Samad's appeal on Jan 31

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has fixed Jan 31 to deliver its verdict on an appeal by former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad over his six years' jail term and RM15.4 million fine for corruption.

Deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz said the prosecution is waiting for a new notice from the court to confirm the latest development.

"The court is expected to give its judgment at 9am.

"They did not say anything about the postponement today," he said after the management of the case today.

The court chaired by Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera was originally fixed to deliver its judgment today, but the matter was adjourned.

Other members of the bench are Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk S.M. Komathy Suppiah.

The former Negri Sembilan menteri besar was sentenced to six years in jail and fined RM15.4 million by the High Court after he was found guilty of nine counts of bribery charges amounting to RM3 million in the Felda acquisition of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching.

Isa is appealing to set aside the decision meted out by judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali (now Court of Appeal judge) on Feb 3, 2021.

On Oct 14, the appellate court reserved its judgment after hearing lengthy submissions from both parties.

Isa's lawyer Datuk Salehuddin Saidin argued that his client should be acquitted and discharged on all the charges as the facts of the case showed there was no evidence that Isa received the kickbacks.

He asserted that the trial judge failed to give proper attention to all the evidence before the court and did not assess the overall evidence before arriving at a conclusion.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Afzainizam Abdul Aziz, however, argued that Isa had intended to get the gratification.

He submitted that although Isa did not deal directly with businessman Ikhwan Zaidel in any of the transactions, the money was handled by Isa's former aide Muhammad Zahid Arip in a discreet manner.

He said the kickbacks were paid for fear that Isa might use his influence to cancel or delay payment for the acquisition of the hotel.

Nazlan, in his judgment, said the accused's defence was an afterthought, inconsistent and baseless.

He said the accused had failed to rebut his charges under Section 16(a)(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 that he had corruptly received the money.

The 73-year-old politician filed the notice of appeal against Nazlan's verdict of Feb 4, 2021.

He was allowed bail of RM1.5 million pending disposal of this appeal.

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