No Action Against The Bribe Givers Themselves?

Isa was charged with nine counts of dishonestly receiving gratification for himself, in cash totalling RM3,090,000 from Ikhwan, 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 the Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) by FIC for RM160mil.

All the offences were allegedly committed at Level 49, Menara Felda, Platinum Park, No. 11, Persiaran KLCC near here between July 21,2014, and Dec 11,2015.

All the charges were framed under Section 16a(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which provides for a jail term not exceeding 20 years and a fine of at least five times the bribe amount, RM10,000 or whichever is higher upon conviction.

Our comment

As they say, it takes two to tango. If someone gives a bribe they are every bit as guilty as the one who took it (in this case the crooked Isa Samad whose thefts from the smallholders of FELDA deserve to be punished by many more sentences such as this).

After all, the giver of the bribe will always have the greater incentive and if you quantify the level of theft, it is the giver who receives more and does most damage.

Take the example in this case. Isa Samad was prevailed by an RM3 million bribe, according to information in the case, to sign off a FELDA funded purchase of this Kuching Hotel for RM160 million – which is calculated to be double its actual worth.

So, who pocketed that RM80 million stolen from the pensions and shareholdings of FELDA workers? Well, that would be the shareholders and directors of the Merdeka Hotel Kuching would it not?

These happen to include Abang Abdillah Izzarim bin Abdul Rahman Zohari son of the chief minister of Sarawak, who clearly needed buttering up by the conspirators behind the deal.

He will doubtless say he had no idea that his bonanza windfall owed to theft, however among his fellow directors and shareholders are those who conspired to sign off the payments in return for bumping up the price.

The sellers of Merdeka Palace Hotel should be prosecuted also and each and every one forced to explain their conduct until those guilty parties are flushed out.

Meanwhile, and without question, Abdullah Izzarim should be required to return every penny of the profit he made to FELDA for what was at the very least a lousy job as a director in charge of making sure the company was honestly managed.

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