Isa Samad: 'I will testify under oath'

Isa Samad: 'I will testify under oath'
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"I have been acquitted of the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge, so I will defend myself against the other nine charges."

KUALA LUMPUR (June 16): Former Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad said he will testify under oath as the High Court has ordered him to enter his defence for the nine charges of corruption under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act levelled against him.

Speaking to the media outside the courtroom, Isa said he will be testifying from the witness stand and will be open to cross-examination by the prosecution.

"I have been acquitted of the criminal breach of trust (CBT) charge, so I will defend myself against the other nine charges. I have chosen to testify under oath," he said.

High Court Justice Mohd Nazlan Ghazali had acquitted Isa of one count of CBT, and ordered the accused to enter his defence on the nine graft charges of receiving RM3.09 billion.

This is in relation to Felda's purchase of the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching by its subsidiary Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC Sdn Bhd).

The judge, in his decision, said the prosecution had proved a prima facie case on the graft charges on the presumption rule.

Isa's counsel Datuk Sallehuddin Saidin said the court had set Aug 17, 18 and 19 for his client to enter his defence.

"Tan Sri will be testifying under oath to deny all allegations. The court will then decide whether the defence has raised reasonable doubt against the allegations," said the lawyer.

On the CBT charge, Isa was alleged to have approved the hotel purchase for RM160 million without the approval of Felda's board of directors. He was charged with committing the offence at Menara Felda here on April 29, 2014.

The charge was framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, together with whipping and a fine, upon conviction.

Under the nine counts of graft charges, he was accused of dishonestly receiving a cash gratification involving RM3.09 million from Ikhwan Zaidel, a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, through Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, in return for helping to approve the hotel purchase by FIC, for RM160 million.

The graft charges were made under Section 16 of the MACC Act, under which Isa stands to face a maximum of 20 years in jail and a fine of up to five times the amount of bribes he received.

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Isa Samad acquitted of CBT charge, ordered to call defence on nine graft charges of receiving RM3.09m