The 9 Salams
Salam’ from Isa Samad was code word for cash request, says witness
Thursday, 24 Oct 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Isa Samad’s “greeting” (salam) was a sign that he wanted money – allegedly as kickback for assisting Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPS) to sell a hotel in Kuching to Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC) at an inflated price, the High Court heard.
Former member of GAPS board of directors Ikhwan Zaidel, 59, told the court on Thursday (Oct 24) that the “greeting” was always delivered by Isa’s former special officer Zahid Md Arip.
Ikhwan, the 16th prosecution witness in Isa’s criminal breach of trust (CBT) and RM3mil graft trial, had earlier told the court that Zahid had informed him that Isa had wanted money for “political purposes”.
Reading from his witness statement, he said he would meet Zahid from time to time whenever he was in Kuala Lumpur for business.
“Zahid contacts me from time to time to deliver ‘salam’ from Isa.
“I understood the meaning of the ‘salam’ and I gave in (akur) to the request,” he said, adding that from his understanding, the greeting meant that Zahid wanted money to be delivered to Isa.
He added that nine payments were made through Zahid between July 2014 and December 2014.
“In the middle of July 2014, I met Zahid at the Cigar Room at Hilton Petaling Jaya.
“I gave him RM100,000 in a paper bag to be given to Isa,” he told the court, adding that he informed Zahid that the amount was to be deducted from the RM3mil promised to Isa.
He said that the other eight payments were made in July 2014 (RM140,000); October 2014 (RM300,000); November 2014 (RM250,000); June 2015 (RM500,000); July 2015 (RM500,000); August 2015 (RM300,000); September 2015 (RM500,000); and December 2015 (RM500,000) – bringing the amount to RM3.09mil in total.
He said at all of their meetings, Zahid came alone.
“I believe that all the money I gave to Zahid was meant for Isa.
“After all the money was given, there was no more request from Zahid for money on Isa’s behalf,” he added.
The court also heard that every time Zahid contacted him with Isa’s greeting, he contacted JV Evolution Sdn Bhd owner Azizi Abdul Wahab for the cash.
On Dec 14, 2018, Isa, 70, claimed trial to one count of criminal breach of trust by approving FIC’s purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites in Kuching without the approval of the Felda board of directors on April 29, 2014.
The offence under Section 409 of the Penal Code carries a jail term of between two and 20 years, whipping and a possible fine upon conviction.
Isa was also charged with nine counts of dishonestly receiving gratification for himself in cash totalling RM3,090,000 for helping to approve the hotel’s purchase by FIC at an allegedly inflated price of RM160mil.
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.
The trial continues before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz leads the prosecution, while Isa is represented by Datuk Salehuddin Saidin.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/24/039salam039-from-isa-samad-w..as-code-word-for-cash-request-says-witness#ugmr3pxOba8zsjEU.99