RM160m hotel purchase not according to Felda’s mandate: Witness

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was told today that former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad (pix) had surpassed a mandate in the purchase of the RM160 million Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) in Kuching, Sarawak by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB).

Former FICSB Legislative and Secretariat division chief, Siti Salwani Mohd Salleh, 41, said she learned this after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) questioned and recorded her statement on two to three occasions, in relation to the hotel purchase.

“It was set in the mandate that projects of over RM100 million managed by FICSB, a subsidiary of Felda, must have the approval of the Felda Board of Directors.

“If this rule is not observed, the FICSB Board of Directors is said to have gone ahead with the investment without meeting the requirements as mandated,“ said the second prosecution witness in response to a supplementary question from deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz at the first day of Mohd Isa’s corruption trial before Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Siti Salwani currently working as an administrative officer at Felda, also told the court that the MPSH purchase did not have the approval of the Felda Board of Directors and was against the mandate.

“However the MPHS purchase is still valid under the sale and purchase agreement between Syarikat Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd and FICSB ... it was the Board of Directors responsibility to prepare the paperwork for approval of the purchase.

“However, no paperwork was prepared by FICSB Board of Directors after that,“ she said adding that FICSB deals in real estate investment business.

Earlier, first prosecution witness, Muhammad Akmaludin Abdullah, 35, assistant registrar of Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) said he received an application from the MACC to search records and documents related to FICSB and two other companies, Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd and JV Evolution Sdn Bhd.

On Dec 14, 2018, Mohd Isa pleaded not guilty to one count of breach of trust, and nine counts of receiving bribes amounting to more than RM3 million.

The offences were allegedly committed at Menara Felda, Platinum Park, Persiaran KLCC between April 29, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015. — Bernama