KUALA LUMPUR • The corruption trial of another top Umno leader started yesterday, this time involving an alleged RM2.8 million (S$920,000) in kickbacks.
Bung Moktar Radin, a member of Umno's supreme council - the Malaysian opposition party's highest decision-making body - is said to have been paid the sum as reward for diverting RM150 million from Felcra, a government-owned company where he was chairman, to a unit trust fund.
The MP from Sabah is on trial jointly with his wife, Zizie Ezette Abd Samad, The Star and other Malaysian media reports say.
According to the first charge, Bung Moktar obtained a RM2.2 million bribe from a Public Mutual investment agent through Zizie in June 2015.
Under the second charge, Bung Moktar, is accused of corruptly obtaining a RM262,500 bribe from the same person through a growth fund account registered in Zizie's name, on the same day in 2015, The Star reported.
The third charge accuses Bung Moktar of obtaining a RM337,500 bribe from another Public Mutual investment agent through a mutual fund account under the politician's name, on the same day.
The 60-year-old federal lawmaker and his wife, 41, have pleaded not guilty. Zizie is an actress and drama producer.
Felcra, the former Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority, manages 257,000ha of oil palm and rubber plantations, along with rice fields, according to its website. Felcra is separate from the other plantation management agency Felda.
With a string of defections in Sabah by Umno MPs and state lawmakers after the May 2018 general election, Bung Moktar has become Umno's most senior leader in the East Malaysian state. He is heading the by-election campaign in the state for the Kimanis parliamentary seat on Jan 18.
With his trial, four prominent Umno chiefs have now been hauled to Malaysian courts.
Former prime minister Najib Razak, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and party treasurer Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor are facing separate trials on charges of corruption, money laundering and/or abuse of powers.
Several other Umno leaders are slated to face criminal trials in the wake of the Pakatan Harapan coalition's win in the general election.