The Court of Appeal today acquitted and discharged former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad of all nine counts of corruption involving RM3 million over the agency’s purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) in Kuching, Sarawak.

The three-judge panel, led by Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, unanimously overturned and set aside the former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar’s conviction and sentence of six years’ imprisonment and a RM15.45 million fine imposed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Feb 3, 2021, after allowing his appeal.

“There is merit in his appeal and it is warranted. The appeal against conviction and sentence is allowed and the order of the High Court is set aside,” said the judge.

The other judges on the bench were Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim and Datuk S.M.Komathy Suppiah.

He was charged in 2018 with nine counts of dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3,090,000 from Ikhwan Zaidel, who is a board member of Gegasan Abadi Properties Sdn Bhd (GAPSB), through his former special political officer Muhammad Zahid Md Arip, as gratification for helping to approve the purchase of the hotel by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB) for RM160 million.

The offence was committed on the 49th floor of Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11 Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur between July 21, 2014 and Dec 11, 2015 under Section 16(a)(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 prosecution was led by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz while Mohd Isa was represented by lawyer Datuk Salehuddin Saidin.