Saturday, August 13

No discussions on rm150 mln investment in Felcra bod meetings — Witness


KUALA LUMPUR: A former member of the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) board of directors (BOD) told the Sessions Court yesterday that a new investment totalling RM150 million in the Public Mutual unit trust was never discussed in the board’s meetings before it was approved by the then Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

Dr Habibah Suleiman, 72, said Ahmad Husni’s decision to approve the investment was conveyed to the Felcra BOD meeting in June 2015.

She said this during re-examination by deputy public prosecutor Siti Noor Hafizan Zakaria in the corruption trial of Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and his wife, actress Datin Seri Zizie Ezette A. Samad.

When questioned by Siti Noor Hafizan on the investment amount that she was aware of, Habibah said: “As far as I know, it was only RM50 million.”

To a question on who had the final decision on the new investment, the fifth prosecution witness said: “Actually, all decisions must be made by the Felcra BOD.”

When cross-examined by lawyer Datuk K. Kumaraendran, who represented Zizie Ezette, on whether she had queried Finance Ministry representative Datuk Mohd Isa Hussain about the RM150 million investment, the witness said: “No.”

Kumaraendran: Why didn’t you ask Datuk Mohd Isa about the RM150 million investment?

Habibah: I felt that it was a decision by the Finance Ministry and no one from the board of directors had questioned this.

However, the witness agreed with Kumaraendran’s suggestion that Mohd Isa had knowledge of the RM150 million investment in the Public Mutual unit trust.

“This was because Mohd Isa’s signature was on the Government Investment Companies Division (GIC) memo,” said Habibah.

Bung Moktar, 60, who was at that time the non-executive chairman of Felcra, was charged with taking a bribe of RM2.2 million from a Public Mutual investment agent Madhi Abdul Hamid, 38, through his wife Zizie Ezette.

He was accused of committing the offence as an inducement to obtain approval by the Finance Minister II for Felcra to invest RM150 million in the Public Mutual unit trust.

The offence was allegedly committed at the Taman Melawati branch of Public Bank Berhad, No. 262-265, Jalan Bandar 12, Taman Melawati here, between 12.30 pm and 5 pm on June 12, 2015.

On the second count, Bung Mokhtar was charged with corruptly receiving RM262,500 in bribes for himself from the same individual through Public Islamic Treasures Growth Fund (PITGF) account number 044797816 registered under Zizie Ezette’s name for the same purpose.

Bung Mokhtar was also charged with corruptly receiving RM337,500 in bribes from Public Mutual investment agent Norhaili Ahmad Mokhtar, 42, through the Public Ittikal Sequel Fund (PITSEQ) account number 044797824, also under Zizie Ezette’s name, for the same purpose.

Both the offences were allegedly committed at the same location at 12.16 pm and 12.28 pm on June 19, 2015.

All charges were made under Subsection 17(a) of the MACC Act and offenders can be sentenced under Section 24 (1) of the same law, which provides for a jail term not exceeding 20 years and a fine not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Zizie Ezette, 41, had pleaded not guilty to three charges of abetting her husband on the same matters at the same place, dates and times.

The charges were framed under Section 28(1) (c ) of the MACC Act, and she is liable to imprisonment of not more than 20 years, and a fine not less than five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

The hearing before Judge Rozina Ayob continues on Aug 12. – Bernama