Former Felda chairperson Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who is facing one count of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and nine counts of corruption, today failed in his application to get back his passport, which had been impounded by the court.
Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi dismissed the application on grounds that although Isa was not a flight risk, there was no urgency for him to perform the umrah.
Isa, represented by lawyers K Kumaraendran and Ridha Abdah Subri, had applied for the return of the passport last Jan 25 to perform the umrah.
Earlier, Kumaraendran submitted that his client was not a flight risk and it was confirmed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as he had always given his cooperation during the investigation of the case.
"Since my client was in remand on Aug 15, 2017, he had been overseas five times and had always reported his trip to the MACC and there was no obstruction,” he added.
The prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Umar Saifuddin Jaafar, in their submission questioned whether there was urgency in the application as Isa had performed the umrah twice last year, in January and May.
Not a flight risk, but the charges 'are serious'
He said although Isa was not a flight risk, after the charges made against him in December last year, there was a difference in his status and the charges are serious.
On Dec 14 last year, Isa pleaded not guilty to the CBT charge and nine counts of corruption involving more than RM3 million in connection with the purchase of a hotel by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) in Kuching, Sarawak.
On the first count, he was charged as director of Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd and entrusted with the company fund, had committed CBT by approving a proposal for the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak, for RM160 million without the approval of the Felda Board of Directors.
He was charged with committing the offence at Level 50, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No 11, Persiaran KLCC in Kuala Lumpur on April 29, 2014.
The charge was framed under Section 409 of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years, whipping and fine, if found guilty.
For the corruption charges, he was charged with dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3,090,000.00, from Ikhwan Zaidel, who is a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd, through one Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, as gratification for helping to approve the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching, Sarawak, by FIC Sdn Bhd, for RM160 million.
All the offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No 11, Persiaran KLCC, between July 21, 2014, and Dec 11, 2015.
The charges were made under Section 16a(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which provides a jail term of not exceeding 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.