Ex-Felda chairman held in graft probe


PUTRAJAYA: Anti-graft officers are focusing on abuse of power and corruption in their investigation into the purchase of two hotels by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) following the arrest of former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is also considering a bid to freeze all assets owned by Mohd Isa, among other properties, in its probe.

Mohd Isa was called to the MACC headquarters here yesterday to give a statement on the purchase of the hotels – one in London and the other in Kuching. He was arrested after two hours of questioning.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said the arrest was made based on witnesses’ statements recorded by the investigating team.

“MACC is confident that it has a strong basis to make the arrest to help us wrap up investigations into the case,” said Azam.

Mohd Isa arrived at MACC headquarters at 2.40pm.

Wearing a bright yellow jacket, he was all smiles when journalists approached him.

“Do you really need to take more photos of me?” he asked in a jovial manner.

Mohd Isa is expected to be brought to a magistrate’s court here today to be issued a remand order.

In Kota Baru, MACC chief Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad confirmed Isa’s house in Selangor had been raided.

He said it was normal procedure when investigating corruption allegations.

Earlier, on June 21, Mohd Isa and his wife Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid were questioned for nearly four hours at the MACC headquarters.

FIC, the investment arm of Felda focusing mainly on real estate, hospitality and the oil and gas sectors, is said to have bought the four-star Park City Hotel in upmarket Kensington, London, between 2013 and 2015, for an inflated price of RM330mil. It was renamed Grand Plaza Hotel.

It was learnt later that the price of the hotel was overpaid by at least RM110mil.

The MACC has also opened another investigation paper on FIC’s purchase of a hotel in Kuching, Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites, for RM160mil, said to be RM50mil more than its actual value. The hotel has 213 guest rooms and apartment suites.

Several key Felda personnel and other witnesses have been called up by the investigating team over the past weeks.

Mohd Isa’s former aide Muham­mad Zahid Md Arip, as well as former FIC CEO Zaid Abdul Jalil, were also held under MACC remand.

They have since been released.

FIC board member Datuk Nur Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narra­shid, who is also Kota Tinggi MP, was also called up several times to have his statements recorded.

 

 
 

 

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