NFCorp chairman Salleh freed of RM49.7 million CBT charges
Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Norsharidah Awang granted Salleh the acquittal after lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and deputy public prosecutor Syed Faisal Syed Amir met in her chambers.
The judge did not give the reason for her decision.
The judge then met Shafee and Syed Faisal in chambers.
Salleh, 66, who is also a director of NFCorp, was charged with misappropriating RM9.76 million last year by way of four cheques from NFCorp funds to finance the purchase of two condominium units at the One Menerung complex in Kuala Lumpur.
In September, Shafee wrote a letter of representation to the Attorney-General's Chambers to withdraw the charges. – November 24, 2015.
NFC chair acquitted of CBT in condo purchase case
NFC scandal: Shahrizat’s husband charged
Mohamad Salleh, 64, was slapped with four separate charges – two counts under Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust and another two counts under the Companies Act – involving the alleged misuse of almost RM50 million.
Looking calm in a suit, Mohamad Salleh, the husband of Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, smiled and shook hands in the packed courtroom. He later pleaded not guilty to all four charges when they were read out to him.
The first charge was that Mohamad Salleh, as a director of NFCorp entrusted with the assets of the company in a CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd account in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, had committed criminal breach of trust when he dishonestly misappropriated RM9,758,140 (about 9.7 million) as a partial payment for two units of the One Menerung luxury condominum for the National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd.
He had allegedly committed the offence via four cheques between Dec 1 and 4 in 2009. This charge falls under Section 409 of the Penal Code.
The second charge was that he had made the same purchase of the two units in One Menerung without the permission of the company’s annual general meeting and had obtained direct profits. This charge comes under Section 132(2)(a) of the Companies Act.
Mohamad Salleh’s third charge read that he had committed criminal breach of trust when he dishonestly misappropriated a sum of RM40 million when he transferred the amount into the account belonging to National Meat & Lifestock Corporation between May 6 and 8, 2008. This came under Section 409.
“The fourth charge was that he had, without the permission through the general meeting of the company, obtained a direct profit from the RM40 million and therefore violated Section 132(2)(a) of the Companies Act.”
Under Section 409, Mohamad Salleh faces a jail term of between two and 20 years, caning and can also be fined if convicted. He can also be jailed five years and fined up to RM30,000 for each charge under the Companies Act.
Sessions judge SM Komathy Suppiah fixed bail at RM500,000 with one surety for all charges. Case mention will be on April 13.
Shahrizat was seen in the court but ignored reporters when asked to comment.
The National Meat & Lifestock Corporation is an associated company of NFCorp. Its directors are all from Shahrizat’s family as well.
Judge ‘curious’ about bail
The prosecution was led by the Attorney-General’s Chambers head of commercial crime deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Dzulkifli Ahmad, and he was assisted by DPP Awang Amardajaya Awang Mahmud and DPP Nur Azimul Azmi.
Mohamad Salleh was represented by Badrulmunir Bukhari, Redza Abdullah, Y Sheelan and Wan Azmir Wan Majid. His lead defence counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was not present as he was overseas.
Seeking a lower bail of RM100,000 earlier, Badrulmunir said that Mohamad Salleh had given his full cooperation throughout investigations and there was no risk of him fleeing.
“He is here to clear his name. There is no flight risk, no worry of him escaping or fleeing from justice,” he said.
The prosecution then confirmed that Mohamad Salleh had been cooperative and did not doubt that he would not run away. Dzulkifli said that he did not object to the bail amount being reduced.
However, Komathy, who said that she was “curious” why the prosecution did not seek a higher bail, remained firm.
“While there is no objection, we have had cases where we set a higher bail even when it involved a lower amount. To ensure there is no disparity, the bail will be RM500,000 with one surety on the condition that his passport is surrendered. Otherwise, there might be all kinds of allegations against this court,” she added.
Mohamad Salleh’s eldest son and NFCorp CEO Wan Shahinur Izmir, 32, stood as bailor for his father. His other two children – Izran and Izzana Fatimah – both directors in NFCorp were absent from court.
The NFC project has been embroiled in controversy since October last year.
The 2010 Auditor-General’s report revealed that the RM250-million cattle breeding project failed to fulfil the objectives of its formation, which was to reduce beef imports.
The opposition, particularly PKR, blew the lid on the scandal with a series of exposé linking Shahrizat to allegations of abusing state funds meant for the project.
NFCorp had been accused of misusing millions from the RM250 million government soft loan to purchase high-class condominiums, premium land and a luxury car as well as expenses unrelated to cattle farming.
Police had been investigating if NFCorp had committed criminal breach of trust, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), too, is looking into the possibility of “abuse of power” in the corporation.
Shahrizat, who has been facing pressure from all sides to quit, yesterday announced that she will step down as minister when her term as a senator ends on April 8.
She would, however, stay on as Umno Wanita chief. - FMT News, 12/3/2012
Audit finds minister’s family made mess of national cattle farming project
The Auditor-General’s Report, released yesterday, showed that the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) set up in 2008 in Gemas, Negri Sembilan failed to hit its target of breeding 8,000 cattle last year.
Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, the centre is expected to produce 60,000 cattle by 2015.
“An audit check found production in 2010 was only at 3,289 heads of cattle or 41.1 per cent,” the report said. The audit was conducted between January and March this year.
Among the reasons cited were the NFC corporation’s poor management including its failure to train 130 farmers for the project, the 5,000-acre farmland in Gemas being overgrown with thorny acacia shrubs, and poor use and maintenance of its facilities.
Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang also said the ministry’s initial main operator, Lamberts Agricultural Trade (M) Sdn Bhd, had backed out of the project, a move that contributed to the dismal performance.
The NFC is a joint-venture between Negri Sembilan and federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MoA) to commercially produce more beef domestically and cut down import of the meat.
Previous media reports showed the MoA picked a company called Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd, owned by Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, to spearhead the project, under a company called National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp).
Mohamad Salleh is also NFCorp’s executive chairman.
Shahrizat’s (picture) three children, Izran, Izmir and Izzana, also play key roles in the NFCorp, the Malay Mail reported on June 24 this year. Izran is CEO while his brother and sister are executive directors.
The family-controlled beef project is marketed under the label “Gemas Gold” and can be found on the menus of several family-owned restaurants in the Klang Valley.
The audit report also found NFCorp did not finalise the standard operating procedure or implementation agreement in 2010.
It noted NFCorp claimed it could not do so because the government has yet to build an abattoir capable of slaughtering 350 heads of cattle a day.
The audit report said the Treasury completed a study on the slaughterhouse on April 5 this year to be presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The audit report noted that two factories related to the project have yet to be built, namely the livestock feed factory that was part of the pilot project under the entrepreneur development programme, and a bio-gas factory to process waste from the abattoir and the feedlot into fuel for the farm.
The report stressed infrastructure upkeep as the most important factor for the project’s success and recommended the MoA devise a “Blue Ocean” strategy to boost its cattle breeding production to meet the original 60,000 target by 2015.
The NFCorp issue a chronology of events
Oct 24 - The Auditor-General's 2010 highlighted the National Feedlot Centre (NFCorp)'s failure to achieve its target of 8,000 heads of cattle that year. The RM74 million (S$30.8 million) centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan only achieved 3,289 heads of cattle or 41 per cent of the target.
Nov 1 - PKR piles the pressure on Shahrizat, demanding that she explain claims of financial mismanagement and corruption in the NFCorp, run by her husband and two of their children.
Nov 15 - The MACC hand over investigations into the alleged multi-million ringgit purchase of a luxury condominium in Bangsar by the NFCorp to the police.
Nov 16 - NFCorp executive director Wan Shahinur Wan Salleh said they had used nearly RM600,000 of its funds to pay for credit card expenses, but pointed out that they were corporate cards used for "business development purposes"
Nov 18 - NFCorp executive chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail denied claims that the project was in a mess, claiming they are on track to produce 60,000 heads of cattle by 2015. Salleh also justified the purchase of two luxury condominiums costing RM6.9 million each, saying the investment would generate an annual yield of some RM900,000 or a 12.9 per cent return of investment rate.
Nov 19 - Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said Bukit Aman had started a probe into the NFCorp
Nov 29 - Shahrizat brushes aside calls for her to quit over her family's involvement in the NFC
scandal, saying that it had nothing to do with her.
Dec 1 - PKR unveil more allegations of financial misappropriation by the NFCorp, claiming that the company ought a luxury car, two plots of land and paid for holiday packages using part of its RM250 million Government soft loan.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar however announces that they found no elements of criminal breach of trust or misappropriation in their ongoing investigation into the NFCorp
Dec 3 - Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein says the probe into the NFC would continue, regardless of the police's preliminary findings that there were no elements of criminal breach of trust.
Dec 6 - Police say the NFC's purchase of two RM6.9 million luxury condominiums was kosher as they were registered under a corporate firm and not in the names of individuals.
Dec 24 - The MACC raid the NFC office in Mont Kiara, taking several envelopes filled with documents and a computer, believed to be linked to the various claims levied against the company.
Jan 3 - Shahrizat denies having tendered her resignation, amidst speculation that she had handed over her resignation letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak over
Jan 13 - Shahrizat takes leave from her official duties to make way for the MACC's probe on whether or not she had any involvement in the NFCorp issue.
Jan 15 - Najib confirms that the NFC's assets are frozen to assist into investigations over alleged misappropriation
Jan 16 - Police conclude their probe into the NFCorp, and present their findings to the Attorney-General for further action.
Jan 19 - Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announces the Government's decision to appoint an accounting firm to carry out a due diligence and project audit on the NFCorp.
Jan 20 - Shahrizat files a RM100 million suit against PKR Ampang MP Zuraidah Kamaruddin and strategic director Rafizi Ramli for defamation in connection with the NFCorp issue
Jan 26 - Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang clarifies his department's 2010 report on the NFC, saying that they highlighted weaknesses in implementation of the project - but never mentioned anything on misappropriation of funds.
Feb 8 - The police resubmit their investigation papers on the NFCorp to the Attorney-General's Chambers and are awaiting orders on the next course of action, after beefing up their findings at the request of the Attorney-General.
Mar 3 - The Attorney-General returns the police's investigation papers on the NFC yet again, ordering the men in blue to carry out further investigations.
Mar 8 - Police reveal they are probing a RM1.7 million apartment cum office purchase by the NFCorp in Khazakhstan, believed to have been made after the company signed an agreement to help the Khazakhstan government breed cattle. - AsiaOne News, 12/3/2012
- See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20120312-332845.html#sthash.04GIWWBL.dpuf