MACC arrests Mohd Isa over Felda hotel purchase (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: Former Felda Global Ventures Bhd (FGV) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad was arrested today by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with the overpriced purchase of two hotels by the corporation's subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).

It is learnt that Mohd Isa who was summoned for questioning a day earlier had arrived at the MACC headquarters here at about 2.40pm and was quizzed by the commission's investigators for about two hours before he was arrested.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki who confirmed the arrest said the detention was made following statements recorded from other witnesses since the probe on the FIC's acquisition of hotels in London and Kuching began last month.

"The MACC detained him as we have substantial evidence found in the probe and hope it will help complete our investigations." he said when contacted.

FIC is said to have purchased a hotel in Kensington, London for an inflated price of RM330mil, when the property is said to be valued at around RM110mil.

Its purchase of a hotel in Kuching for RM160mil is also said to have been inflated by RM50mil from the actual value of RM110mil.

Last Thursday, three board directors of the Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) were called up for the second time by the MACC for questioning over the ongoing probe.

Sources said all three directors had gone to the MACC headquarters at 11am on that day.

The MACC has to date called up 29 witnesses for questioning over the case.

Five people including a former chief executive officer of FIC and those involved in inking the purchase of the hotels were also detained for questioning in the past.

The commission had also conducted raids at the FIC and FGV headquarters in Kuala Lumpur since it began its probe about a month ago on discovering that the hotels that were acquired for about RM500 million were overpaid by between 30% and 40%.

It is learnt that investigators discovered that a third-party company purchased the hotels and subsequently sold it to the FIC at a price marked up way above the market value causing tens of millions in losses.

The MACC is expected to seek a remand order on Mohd Isa tomorrow.